9jadiaspora news items

Nigerian Bar Association Unveils 2017 Annual General Conference Identity

PREMIUM TIMES NIGERIA - 11 min 31 sec ago

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Nika Gilauri, Gloria Akuffo, Ram Charan, Aliko Dangote and others, to grace 2017 NBA Annual General Conference.

The post Nigerian Bar Association Unveils 2017 Annual General Conference Identity appeared first on Premium Times Nigeria.

Botswana's former President Ketumile Masire dies aged 91

BBC NEWS AFRICA - 21 min 33 sec ago
Sir Ketumile Masire led the country for 18 years and is seen as the architect of its stability.

Court to replace Messi’s 21-month jail term with $450 per day fine

THE PUNCH - 39 min 26 sec ago

Prosecutors in Barcelona say they are not against replacing football star Lionel Messi’s 21-month jail sentence for tax fraud with a fine, a spokeswoman announced Friday.

They said they were willing to give the 29-year-old a fine of 400 euros ($450) a day for the duration of the sentence — an option that the defence of the Argentina international has also proposed.

That would amount to more than 250,000 euros, although the court has the final decision over whether to go ahead with this option.

The daily fine would come on top of the 2.09-million-euro fine Messi was also given when he and his father Jorge Horacio Messi were found guilty of tax fraud in a trial last year and sentenced to 21 months in jail.

Both appealed, but Spain’s Supreme Court last month confirmed the jail term for the Barcelona striker, although it reduced Messi’s father’s sentence to 15 months.

The pair used companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros of Messi’s income earned from his image rights from 2007-09.

The income related to Messi’s image rights that was hidden includes endorsement deals with Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company.

Messi is not the only football star to run into problems with Spain’s courts, with Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo the latest to have been summoned to appear before a judge investigating tax fraud.

He is due to be questioned on July 31 on suspicion of evading 14.7 million euros in taxes.

AFP

We’ve taken over Etisalat – Banks

THE PUNCH - 1 hour 11 min ago

The consortium of 13 banks involved in Etisalat Nigeria loan on Thursday refuted reports that they have taken over the operations of the company.

A management source close to the banks who pleaded anonymity said in Lagos that there was no truth in the report making the round.

The source said that the banks’ major interest was the loan repayment borrowed by the company and not takeover.

“We are not telecommunication companies, all we want is our money,” he said.

The source said that the company must pay back the loans in order not to jeopardise the economy, jobs, payment of dividends and depositors funds.

He stated that it was not only the banks that would suffer but billions of Nigerians, even the vendors, and distributors doing business with the company.

“We did not take over Etisalat as being insinuated, if we have taken over, it has to be registered with the CAC.

“They are still doing their business, they just want to weep up sentiment at the United Arab Emirates,” the source added.

He added that the company had about 20 million subscribers, adding that any interruption would affect many businesses, especially SMES.

According to the source, the affected Nigerian banks are owed about $570m out of the $1.2bn syndicated loan with the balance being owed vendors and distributors, among others.

The source said that Etisalat wanted to pay only 10 per cent of the loan borrowed and requested that others should be written off as non-performing loan.

He said that Etisalat wanted the consortium of banks to pay $50m out of $570m being owed, which the banks rejected.

The source added that the banks practically reduced the debt to between 20 per cent and 30 per cent at a discounted interest rate of six percent below the market rate which was rejected by Etisalat.

“All we are requesting is for the Federal Government to wade into the issue and carry out due diligence on what the loan was used for.

“A foreign company cannot come and ride us in Nigeria, if this issue is not handled carefully, others will do the same thing,” the source said.

The source said that the company was avoiding negotiations which made the affected banks to fly to London earlier in the year to have a discussion with a company with its office in Nigeria.

He said that the company was advised earlier before naira devaluation to convert the foreign loans to local currency due to fall in oil price at the global market, which it also rejected.

UAE’s Etisalat had on June 20, said that it had been instructed to transfer its 45 per cent stake in Etisalat Nigeria to a loan trustee.

Etisalat said it had been notified to transfer its stake by June 23. It said the stake had a carrying value of zero on its books.

In the last few months, Etisalat Nigeria has been in talks with Nigerian banks to restructure a $1.2bn loan after missing repayments.

The loan is a seven-year facility agreed with 13 banks in 2013 to refinance a $650m and fund expansion of the telco’s network.

Although the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria stepped into the fray to prevent a takeover by the banks, those discussions failed to produce an agreement on restructuring the debt.

(NAN)

Ifeakandu’s story for 2017 Caine Prize is 3D

THE PUNCH - 1 hour 12 min ago

’Tunji Ajibade

That there was a deliberate effort to obscure a simple story line was the last I stated last Friday about Bushra al-Fadil’s “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away”. Did al-Fadil’s attempt to add the mysterious to his entry for the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing work? Did this add any flavour which gave the work extra bite over the four other entries? I doubt it. For me, the story lacks real depth in the end, almost flat, one-dimensional. The attempt comes across like the beautiful girl, the focus of attraction, is meant to be a normal human being yet mysterious; ultimately, the latter seems like flavour so consciously added to a drink. But it floats, rather than mix fully. This is in the story, it comes across in the title too. The good in this story is how al-Fadil takes a major and common problem in his part of Africa and delicately tells it. Beyond this, I receive no further punches, nothing “haunting” as this year’s judges proclaim, and nothing more to report.

The Virus is the entry by South Africa’s Magogodi oaMphela Makhene. It tells about Namibia, the time it was still South West Africa in the 1980s, under colonial rule, at the time war of independence was being fought. The protagonist, a white man of German origin, fought in the army defending Ian Smith and his self-proclaimed country in the 1980s. The job of the platoon was to kill the “terrorists”. There was the heavy reference to race relations among the different peoples of South West Africa, inside and outside the army. The Germans had colonised South West Africa before it was taken from them after the War. But Germans and other whites had long settled in the country, had taken over land, and were in government in the 1980s, just as whites were in neighbouring countries of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

There are a few significant things to note about this entry. I struggle to identify “The Virus” in the story. Is it the race relations, or the aids virus mentioned in just two lines? Is it the war of independence, or the motive for fighting the war on the side of Smith? Pinning the title to the story is difficult. Maybe, I’m missing something. There’s the language of this story too, I mean the voice; sometimes, it’s like writing patois of the Caribbean. Well, not exactly. But the comparison is inescapable when one has the following in a story written in English Language: “A temporary inconvenience, we told ourself.” “A now open and just now-now finish pitstop, while these First Worlds sorted theyself out.” “You should have seen Steenkamp, still panting from the effort lugging hisself, now-now realising the thing he just done to his wife: leaving her standing there…” “What manner of man fetches others to call man, to do for his wife what he can’t hisself?” “Even Johannes Van de Merwe, I heard him say he don’t mind them.” ‘Anyways, there we is.”

There’s also the boldness with which the author uses words that are familiar to the Boers, without striving to explain what they stand for. Sometimes, they’re understood in context, sometimes they’re not: “verkrampte Boers”, “nearest dorp”, “The bobbejaans”. The author writes as though it doesn’t matter that the outsider doesn’t know. I find it amusing though. And there’s the mentioning of names of important figures that the reader who doesn’t have a fair knowledge of international affairs may not be able to relate with. With regard to such a reader, the general ambience of the story may be confusing, even.

There’s also that carefree style in which this author writes. The confidence that she can construct her sentences as she cares, not bothered by the officiousness or the need not to write what readers and contest judges won’t count against her, comes across. I wonder though if the ultimate judge for this year would take the author’s use of carefree spoken tenses of the Boers against her.

The war action in this story has its memorable takes. This part reminds me of Rotimi Babatunde’s work which won the Caine Prize in 2012. Makhene’s The Virus doesn’t put blood on display, just as Babatunde’s work didn’t put blood and guns on display. Both display the humans who are involved, the effects of war on them, using small things that show the human angle, little but important details that make a prose flourish, delicious. Incidentally, the most colourful soldier in the platoon of the protagonist is a black African. Enoch Omugulugwombashe. He was the platoon’s tracker. A natural tracker. Natural bushfighter. Enoch could tell feral stories buried in the bush. He could tell of secret things buried in the earth by just looking at dirt. By sifting sand between fingers, he could point out evidence of a scorpion that passed the previous night.

Enoch could detail to a hair the sex, size and weight of a kudu – antelope. He was such an expert that he was responsible for the fresh bush meat the platoon ate, providing change from the ‘tin stuff’ and ‘dog biscuits’ the white platoon members were used to. Enoch was a schoolteacher before the war. He spoke Afrikaans, English and German. The protagonist at first had kept his distance. But he soon became Enoch’s best friend and he learned things from the black African, including myths and taboos he cared nothing about. Typical of many war stories involving whites and blacks, the author of The Virus made Enoch to die in war while the white protagonist survived as well as most other whites in the platoon. A white soldier even had to shoot him, putting him out of his misery.

While I enjoyed The Virus, I assessed it to fall behind Arinze Ifeakandu’s ‘God’s children are little broken things’. These two are followed by the other three stories in this year’s Caine Prize shortlist – Emelumadu, Arimah, al-Fadil – in that other. Without doubt, the winner will be either Ifeakandu or Makhene. I think Ifeakandu should have it. Reason? This is a style of writing that breaks known barriers. It opens eyes regarding possibilities in creative writing. This is a form in the arts where you’re free to create your own world. Experiment all you want. If it works, it works. Your work becomes a pacesetter, one day a classic, like William Shakespeare’s. Compared to the other four, Ifeakandu’s work is 3D. Multi-dimensional. With relatively distinct and better developed characters. Little juicy details that make a great prose. Ifeakandu’s work is simply much more so than the rest.

There is also this thing to a story that gives an assessor a feeling of fullness, wholeness, wholesomeness, balanced, a positively multi-dimensional hue. Checking for this necessarily becomes crucial in a situation where all stories being considered are good. The five stories for this year are good, but Ifeakandu’s work has this advantage over the rest. It’s a strength I particularly look for in any story. And when an entry has a heavier dose of it than rivals, that’s it for me. I recall that when I opened Babatunde’s story first, out of the five in the shortlist back in 2012, I felt the wholesomeness of the story so much that I didn’t bother to read the other four. I was confident they wouldn’t be able to project such completeness, such ‘full-bodied’ presence. I had simply concluded that Babatunde would win. Two months later he was declared the winner.

Placed side by side with Ifeakandu’s, there’s something about the other four stories that, for me, leaves a yearning, a feeling of stories lighter in weight, strongly focused but one-dimensional by comparison. They are good, any of them, worthy of being the winner; it’s just that Ifeakandu weaves his story in a manner that leaves one more impressed, better fulfilled. Responsible for this is the craftsmanship. The five stories have it. Ifeakandu’s has more. I applaud all the writers on this year’s shortlist.

Copyright PUNCH.
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Mounting national debt amid waste

THE PUNCH - 1 hour 17 min ago

Once again, Nigeria is on a binge borrowing to another national debt crisis.  According to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s total debt stock increased to $62.87 billion (N19.15 trillion) at the end of first quarter 2017, from $57.39 billion (N17.36 trillion) at the end of last year. While the external debt rose from $11.40 billion at the end of December to $13.80 billion at the end of March 2017, the domestic component of the debt fell from N13.88 trillion to N11.97 trillion.

Amid ailing finances, Nigeria’s debt is expanding again at a rapid pace with a huge debt servicing cost. In the past five years, Nigeria has spent $1.62 billion for servicing of external loans contracted by both the federal and state governments.  In all, the Federal Government proposed to additionally borrow about $30 billion between 2016 and 2018 to be arranged from five multilateral institutions: World Bank, African Development Bank, Japan International Co-operation Agency, Islamic Development Bank and the China EximBank.

The breakdown of the package shows that $4.8 billion will be spent on the Mambila Hydro-electric Power Plant; $3.5 billion on railway modernisation coastal project (Calabar-Port Harcourt-Onne Deep Seaport segment); $1.6 billion for Abuja mass rail transit project; $1.1 billion to kick-start the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos-Kano railway modernisation project and $1.3 billion for the Kano-Kaduna section. Another $6 billion is devoted to social programmes in health and education. From this figure, $7 billion would be sought this year.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, declared recently that the solution to our rising debt service cost was not to stop borrowing, but to raise revenue from tax as a low hanging fruit. According to her, Nigeria’s 69 million taxpayers have devised means of beating an opaque tax collection system.  Her analysis shows that out of this figure, only 214 people pay personal income tax of about N20 million each, despite the fact that the country has the highest number of Africa’s wealthiest people. 

Adeosun’s aggressive tax collection and the plan to boost capital spending are welcome and indeed overdue, but her solution to Nigeria escaping another debt crisis is inadequate. We agree that the economy needs a sufficient amount of public debt to function well. The economy suffers from obvious infrastructure deficiencies like electricity, roads, rails, water systems and more, which, according to some estimates, will require $31 billion to fix each year for the next decade.

And one way to put debt in perspective is to compare it to gross domestic product. The debt-to-GDP ratio is one primary indicator of a country’s economic health; a lower ratio is generally seen as more favourable, as it shows that a country is producing enough to eventually be able to repay its debts. The Economist magazine’s Global Debt Stock puts our public debt at $55,944,262,295, public debt per person at $309.57, public debt as percentage of GDP at 19.1 per cent and total annual change of 6.3 per cent.  From the figures, we appear to be in a reasonable threshold when compared with that of South Africa’s $226,101,639,344 total public debt at $4,657 per person, 42.2 per cent of GDP and 12.5 per cent annual change.

But that is where the good news ends. The bad news is that  successive governments have so badly managed resources only to resort to borrowing to meet consumption and feed the prevailing system of graft and patronage while piling up debts. Similarly, Nigeria is not among the world’s economic powerhouses. We are also not persuaded that the government is utilising loans judiciously as a tool for development. It is wrong therefore to justify borrowing using global thresholds knowing that we run an economy with an acute infrastructure deficit, one that is dependent on crude oil receipts for over 70 per cent of government revenues, where the rule of law is weak and one where excessive corruption derails all development programmes. Our oil-resource economy is another disincentive. With oil receipts dominating fiscal revenue and exports, the Nigerian economy has been hit hard by falling oil prices and low oil production. It is argued that a drastic and persistent fall in public assets, caused by a fall in revenue, would, in the long run, increase the risk of debt distress. Unlike Nigeria, countries like Malaysia, South Africa, Brazil and South Korea have built up infrastructure, diversified and built export-oriented economies and could therefore sustain such high debt-to-GDP ratios. In these and other countries, corruption is not as endemic as it is in Nigeria.

Many have had a hand in creating this mess. For an economy highly dependent on oil revenue and given the volatility in oil prices, an appropriate policy choice would have been a vigorous accumulation of oil savings during a boom time and using them in a downturn.  The Goodluck Jonathan government failed Nigeria woefully on this score. Nigeria sailed through the 2008-09 crisis with ample buffers: the balance in the Excess Crude Account, according to an International Monetary Fund damning report, was put at $22 billion (8 per cent of GDP), while gross international reserves stood at $62 billion (equivalent to 16 months of imports). But Jonathan came and squandered a substantial part of that.  By 2014, the ECA had been depleted to $4 billion (½ per cent of GDP) and GIR had fallen to $40 billion (about 8½ months of imports). Over time, the GIR fell below $30 billion in 2015 on Jonathan’s watch. Yet, as of March 31, 2015, the Jonathan government left a public debt of $63.5 billion or N12. 062 trillion.  A year later, the debt stock climbed further to $71.7 billion or N13. 8 trillion.

Many others also brought this country to the sad state of affairs. For instance, while Nigeria is running from pillar to post seeking external loans to fund the budget, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria just says that the debts owed it by 350 Nigerians would be enough to fund about N2 trillion deficit in the 2017 budget. “The Federal Government will have no need to borrow in order to finance part of the budget if they (AMCON debtors) pay the debts.”

No doubt, the treasury that Adeosun inherited from the Jonathan administration was almost out of cash. But the Buhari government statist approach to economic management is wrong. The administration must not drag Nigeria into a Greece-like debt crisis when a left-leaning, socially liberal government embarked on large increase in government spending. Government spending and borrowing soared, leading to 16 years of double-digit fiscal deficit. This, according to a report, stifled the private sector and saw an explosive expansion of the public sector as a percentage of total GDP.

How should Nigeria, therefore, manage its debt? The previous loans were expended on ill-conceived projects. Therefore, how the loans were utilised should be audited before new ones are taken. In addition to cracking down on artful tax dodgers, the government should take measures to shrink the bloated state, retool the anti-graft war and address the illicit financial outflow. Economic diversification driven by the private sector can only make sense if it is accompanied by aggressive privatisation plan.

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Five ways to improve online banking security

THE PUNCH - 1 hour 18 min ago

Online banking, by computer or phone, is now as common a way to access your accounts as stopping at an Automated Teller Machine, with many bank depositors making it a habit, according to www.nerdwallet.com.

But you know who else loves online banking? Hackers. After all, it is easier to steal someone’s money from far away than while standing in line at the teller window.

Banks are beefing up their security systems to fight cybercrime: More than 70 per cent of bank executives say they have increased their annual budgets in this area, according to a banker survey. But consumers also have a role to play.

Here are five steps to take to protect your accounts so you can bank securely online.

Ask for two-factor authentication

When you log in to a website, you prove who you are by entering a username and a password. That is one factor. With two-factor authentication, you are asked to enter another piece of identification such as a temporary code. The bank would email or text you the code at the time you try to log on, so it is unlikely someone else could receive it beforehand.

Two-factor authentication simply requires two forms of verification before a user can log in, and consumers should ask their financial institution if they offer it.

Skip public Wi-Fi

You can’t really tell who can see your data if it is being sent over public Wi-Fi, the kind offered at places like coffee shops and hotel lobbies. Basic web surfing on these public networks may be okay, but it is best to do your online banking from the security of a private home network.

If you travel often and need to use mobile banking, consider choosing your mobile provider’s data plan for online access. If you have to use public Wi-Fi, another option is to set up a virtual private network to send and receive encrypted data online.

When you are on your bank’s website, verify that the page is secure before you submit any personal information. Check your browser’s address bar to make sure it starts with “https” instead of “http.” “That lets you know you have a secure connection.

Set up reminders to change your password

When you open an account and sign up for online banking, you are probably asked to create a strong password. That is good advice. In addition, it is a good idea to set up reminders on your task list or calendar to change to another strong password every few months so that it does not become stale and guessable.

Along these lines, avoid having the same password for all your online accounts. You may not care if someone hacked into that social media account you no longer use, but what if that person could then use it to get into your current and savings accounts? Keep your passwords distinct and varied.

Be wary of ‘official-looking’ notices

Some scammers send emails that claim to be from a bank, asking you to click on a link to settle some issue with your account. These emails might have the right logos and language, but it could be a phishing effort to get you to give up your username, password, or other sensitive data. Phishing attempts are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

If you receive an email that is even a little suspicious, don’t click any links in the message. Remember that you can always sign in to your account by opening a new web browser session and typing in your bank’s web address. You could also call your bank at a number you trust.

Ask your bank how it is keeping your records secure

Take a look at your bank’s website, or contact customer service, to learn about any encryption technology it uses, whether it monitors accounts for fraudulent activity and if it limits your liability for unauthorised transactions. Find out what your bank is doing to protect you. If you are not satisfied with the answer, consider switching to a bank where you will be.

Online banking is convenient, but you want your financial information to stay secure. Taking steps to protect your accounts is a vital part of managing your personal finances.

Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

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APC governors condemn growing ethnic agitations

PREMIUM TIMES NIGERIA - 1 hour 22 min ago

The governors give reasons for the growing tension.

The post APC governors condemn growing ethnic agitations appeared first on Premium Times Nigeria.

Caution your youths, Abiara tells northern elders

THE PUNCH - 1 hour 42 min ago

Samson Folarin

The General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide, Prophet Samuel Abiara, has urged northern leaders to talk to the youths in the region to avoid another civil war in the country.

Abiara called for peaceful coexistence and unity among the various tribes in the country for national development.

The cleric spoke at a 30-day revival programme which held in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, a statement said on Thursday.

The interdenominational programme, tagged, ‘While men slept’, was to pray for Nigeria.

Abiara, in his message, called for prayers for all political office holders and religious leaders, saying the 36 states of the federation also needed divine intervention.

He said, “I want to call on all Nigerians to keep their minds at rest, especially our Igbo brothers and sisters who have been asked to leave the northern part of the country. God is our father and he owns Nigeria. He will help us as long as we obey Him. I admonish all the easterners not to panic at all. God is in control. They should not react negatively to this matter.

“I also want to appeal to the northern youths to allow peace to reign. I call on the northern elders to calm these angry youths.  We must know that there is no peace in chaos. They must remember that Nigeria has yet to recover from the last civil war that claimed millions of lives and destroyed property.”

The cleric noted that any plot to overthrow the Nigerian government through a coup would fail, and advised the military to focus on the protection of the country from external aggression.

Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

 

Morocco international Walid Azaro snubs Europe for Al Ahly

BBC NEWS AFRICA - 2 hours 1 min ago
Morocco international Walid Azaro says he turned down several offers to play in Europe in order to join Egypt's Al Ahly.

Chris Giwa defects to PDP, says party

THE PUNCH - 2 hours 15 min ago

Mr Chris Giwa, ACN candidate for the Plateau governorship seat in 2011, has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Giwa, proprietor of Giwa FC of Jos, who was received at the party’s secretariat in Jos on Thursday, said that he opted for the PDP because he was convinced that it held the key to a better Nigeria.

“Nigerians have tested and tasted the PDP and the APC; from experience, the average Nigerian believes that PDP is a better option. I have opted to go with the majority,” he said.

Giwa, who said that he had “no immediate ambition”, promised to work for the return of Sen. Jonah Jang (PDP, Plateau North), to the senate in 2019.

In an address to welcome Giwa, Jang said that the PDP in Plateau was intact and ready to regain power in 2019.

“We had a setback in 2015 but we have put that behind and moved on. The defeat was a temporary setback that has made up stronger after realising our mistakes,” he said.

Jang cautioned PDP members against the temptation to jump ship simply because the party was out of power, and declared that those doing so would regret “very soon”.

He stressed the need for the PDP to remain united, saying that a divided opposition had no chance against an incumbent government.

“As your leaders, we will do everything within our powers to ensure that the PDP remains a strong and united entity.

“It is good to have an ambition, but no ambition is more than the PDP because it is the platform through which we can achieve such ambitions,” he said.

Jang assured PDP members that there would be no imposition of candidates, and advised those interested in seeking elective positions to reach out to the people.

Plateau PDP Chairman Damishi Sango in his remarks said that the party was stronger with Giwa in its fold.

Sango tasked members on discipline, noting that nothing would be achieved if members were not focused and discipline toward achieving set goals.

“The party is supreme; every member must respect it,” he said.

Other top PDP members that welcomed Giwa included Sen. Jeremiah Useni (PDP, Plateau South), national and state assembly members, as well as former ministers and commissioners.

(NAN)

 

Anti-graft war: EFCC rewards 25 youths

THE PUNCH - 2 hours 31 min ago

The EFCC has rewarded 25 youths with Net book laptops with Bribe Buster application for joining the Commission in the anti-corruption campaign through their art works.

Mr Osita Nwajah, the Director, Public Affairs of the commission, presented the gifts to the youths during the launch of the Creative Youth Community Development Initiative (CYCDI), an NGO, in Lagos.

Nwajah, who represented the commission’s Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, said that the commission had been in a partnership with the Creative Youth Initiative against Corruption (CYIAC) sponsored by Prof. Wole Soyinka.

According to him, the 25 recipients emerged from the three-month intensive creative programme organised by the commission to curb corruption through creative development.

The director noted that the students, aged between nine and 14 years, showcased their talents in painting, drama, poetry and singing.

“The Net Book, a mini laptop, is packaged with educational materials and Bribe Buster application; an animated video series for children and youth developed by TRACE International, USA, for the purpose of advancing commercial transparency worldwide.”

Nwajah said that the commission was very delighted to be identified with the CYIAC, stressing that its involvement in the project was a deliberate effort at achieving a corrupt-free Nigeria.

“Corruption is fighting back and it is easy to be discouraged; but the EFCC will do all it can within its powers to ensure that corruption is fought to the barest minimum.

“One of the ways to achieve the preventive mandate of the commission is to support this initiative. The CYIAC is a corruption preventive initiative of the EFCC.

“It kicked off in October 2016 and is committed to lead change in children and youth by eradicating corruption through character (attitude) and skill (aptitude) development for the positive advancement of Nigeria,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Foluke Michael, the Project Director of the CYIAC, said that the project was aimed at creating corruption awareness in children and youths, adding that the objective had been achieved through various forms of art.

The Chairperson of CYCDI, Chief Oyenike Okundaye, in her remark, said that her organization would provide the necessary support and platform to ensure that CYCDI delivered its objectives of building a new Nigeria.

She said that the platform would engage children, youths, women and the creative community for the advancement of the nation.

CYCDI is an NGO that aims to empower children, youths and women through creative development, to support the creative industry.

It also seeks to support other community development projects by promoting creativity, entrepreneurial skills, empowerment programmes and wealth creation in children, youths and women in Africa.

(NAN)

Nigerian cured of rare skin cancer in India

THE PUNCH - 2 hours 39 min ago

Thirty-seven-year-old Nigerian woman, Amina Abubakar was not sure that she will survive after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 by a Nigerian hospital.

But it was a wrong diagnosis for Amina, who was a final year medical student. As it turned out, she was actually suffering from skin cancer.

After struggling for more than three years, Amina can now breathe easy. Thanks to the treatment that cured her at a city hospital in Bengaluru, India.

She was bed-ridden for more than three years under heavy antibiotics and other cancer treatments.

But the last 20 days made her recover miraculously. That is after the doctors removed a 5 kg tumour from her breast.

Amina said, “I found a lump on the left breast in November 2014 and then was diagnosed as chronic mastitis in local hospital in Nigeria. I have suffered Wrong diagnosis and lack of treatment for years. I was physically and mentally broken and was unable to deal with the pain and the foul smell that comes with cancer.”

Unable to find any cure in Nigeria, Amina, whose father was also once treated in a city hospital, decided to travel to Bengaluru.

“My family and I got very anxious about this situation and on the recommendation of a local doctor decided to visit Dr Anthony Pais at Cytecare for treatment.

” But it wasn’t easy for the city doctors to cure her as the disease was rare.

“Skin cancer on the breast and infiltrating it is the rarest of the rare cancers in the world. This was the first treatment for a rare form of skin cancer – Syringocystadenocarcinoma papilliferum, which was diagnosed and treated in the world. It is one such case where the right diagnosis was the game-changer in the treatment of the disease,” claimed Dr Anthony Pais.

“There are two types of skin cancer – melanoma and non-melanoma, most of them being non-melanoma. Among all the non-melanoma skin cancers, 75% of them are basal cell cancers; 20% of them are squamous cell cancers and about 2% of them being adnexal skin tumours. Most of these adnexal tumours are benign. The rarity of this adnexal skin cancer involving the breast is the rarest of the rare cancer. In this case, the problem started with the wart and with a birthmark close by, which is technically called a nevus. This grew over a period of time.”

Amina, who got a new lease of life, will head for Nigeria this Saturday. She will continue a follow-up at a local hospital for a couple of months more.


Curious case of cancer

According to Dr Pais, it is very difficult to know about the disease or diagnose it at an early stage. So, there is no precaution and can’t be prevented. Moreover, it is not genetic. Excessive exposure to sunlight can be one of the reasons. People living near the Equator are more prone this type of cancer as they are exposed to direct ultraviolet rays. One might diagnose this case to be that of a breast cancer which can be followed by unnecessary chemotherapy. The treatment is for the skin cancer arising on the breast infiltrating into it. So, proper surgery and radiotherapy is the answer. People should consider screening if they have any ulcer for more than three months. They should do that in case of moles or itching that appears for months.

First published by Bangalore Mirror

NAN

DHQ says Service Chiefs commit no illegality in extension of officers’ service

THE PUNCH - 2 hours 45 min ago

The Defence Headquarters says the Service Chiefs of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have not committed any illegality in extending the service of career officers.

Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, the Director Defence Information gave the clarification in a statement on Thursday.

Enenche said that the clarification followed a publication captioned: “How Service Chiefs Illegally Extend Military Careers of Course Mates”.

“Thus, it has become necessary to clear this issue that was addressed particularly to the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air force,’’ he said.

He explained that the publication cited the “Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service (HTACOS), 2012, Paragraph 02: 10 (b) as justification for the assertion, which is a tabulation of the conditions relating to the length of service of a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.’’

“However, it failed to give insight into other sections of the Paragraph that borders specifically on extension of service for a commissioned officer.

“In view of this kind of an unbalanced publication, the Defence Headquarters wishes to posit that; Paragraph 02:10 (d) of Armed Forces of Nigeria, Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service, officers, 2012 is clear on the considerations for extending the length of service for officers, which are summarized as follows:

“An officer’s career can be extended based on the interest of the Service, in this case, Army, Navy and Air force.

“In very exceptional cases, an officer’s Career can be extended beyond one year for as long as necessary.

“Extension of service for officers can only be approved by the Service Council/Board comprising the Honourable Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, the Service Chief, Service Director at Ministry of Defence and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence.

“Extension of service for officers can also be at the discretion of the Commander in Chief,’’ Enenche said.

The DDI further explained that extant guidelines and policies were always followed as laid out in the aforementioned document when the need arise.
He said that quite a good number of the officers mentioned in the article were no longer in service.

“Only very few are still in service, in the interest of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, which is in line with Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers, 2012, Paragraph 02.10 (d).

“The general public is hereby re-assured that the service Chiefs under the strategic leadership of the Chief of Defence staff are focused and will remain so, in tackling the security challenges of the nation, and would not be distracted by any means,’’ Enenche said.

(NAN)

 

Controversy as Falz tells singers to stop praising ‘Yahoo Boys’

THE PUNCH - 2 hours 59 min ago

Falz the Bad Guy has stirred some controversy after his advice to fellow singers, to stop praising Yahoo Boys, a parlance for internet fraudsters.

Falz spoke in an interview on Oak TV, that hailing the Yahoo Boys amounts to glorification of what is wrong in society and urged artists to desist from doing so for the sake of the future.

In his interview, Falz made mention of no one, but he was soon pitted against 9Ice, an older musician, with commentators divided on the merit of his advice.

http://punchng.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/22223440/video.mp4

Here are some of the comments that summarised the controversy:

Falz wants to talk about morality and decency in art, but Davido insulted his elder, Dele Momodu, right on his own song.

— – jeffrey (@VillageParrot) June 22, 2017

Falz would have made total sense if the Nigerian society was normal, ideal. Unfortunately it isn’t.

— Christopher (@cb_mfi) June 22, 2017

buh on a serious note, Falz shouldnt av come on air to preach morals based on wat reason, money must b made

— Owonifuja Gbenga (@SirFuja) June 22, 2017

By every standard Falz has not made a quarter of the impact 9ice has made in the music industry. What nonsense!

— – jeffrey (@VillageParrot) June 22, 2017

Falz spoke about musicians praising criminals & fraudsters. How is that wrong? Surely you cant compare fraud & disrespectful conduct? https://t.co/R5a53AihVB

— Igala_Alan_Shore (@i_am_Anomeli) June 22, 2017

Music is now money in Nigeria,, that’s why falz can have a running mouth,, where were you when 9ice sang Life Drama! #Lawyer_With_0_Brain!

— Is Ma Il (@easycentz) June 22, 2017

Yahoo Boys taint Nigeria’s image, make it hard to attract investments & go oversees. Falz won a BET Award for NGR & & you’re coming for him?

— Isima (@IsimaOdeh) June 22, 2017

I cannot believe that Falz is getting dragged for saying people should stop hailing fraudsters. Is everything okay in Nigeria?

— KK (@duchesskk) June 22, 2017

lol y’al think Falz is an idiot cos he talks like one in his videos ? Someone that was top of his class in Law school.

— Deacon ‘Dolapo (@dollycent) June 22, 2017

‘Some parents aid sexual abuse in children’

THE PUNCH - 3 hours 19 min ago

Folashade Adebayo

An official of Stop Sexual Abuse Now, a non-governmental organisation, Nkem Ijeh, has said that the attitude of some parents is responsible for the prevalence of sexual abuse in the country.

According to her, some parents coerce their children into silence because of socio-economic reasons.

She said this recently during the ninth edition of the annual Career Guidance and Counselling  seminar organised by the Goge Africa Foundation.

More than 3,000 pupils from public and private schools in Lagos State attended the programme themed, Youths Against Violence.

She said, “Some parents even threaten their children not to speak out after being harassed all because the person who committed the crime is the bread winner of the family. They are scared of taking up financial responsibilities. Some children are even harassed by their teachers, but they are too scared to speak out because they are afraid that no one would believe their story. Do not be afraid to seek help because delay can be dangerous.”

In his address, the GAF President, Isaac Moses, said that his profession as a media entrepreneur had exposed him to the challenges facing African youths.

“This programme is our way of giving back to the society. We run a television show that takes us to different part of Africa. In the course of doing this, we saw the kind of challenges that exists within Africa and we realised that we have to move with the times, otherwise​ we would be left behind. We have discovered that it is not all about what you have but what you know.”

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CRS controversy: CAN wants curriculum suspended

THE PUNCH - 3 hours 25 min ago

Friday Olokor, Jos

The Christian Association Nigeria on Thursday called on the Federal Government to publish the full details of the controversial new education curriculum.

The implementation of the curriculum, the organisation advised, should be suspended until all the grey areas were addressed.

According to CAN, while there is nothing wrong with the old curriculum on Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies, what people have been yearning for is a return to Civic Education and History for obvious reasons as distinct subjects.

“We request a return to the curriculum we were using before this dangerous one which did not produce insurgents or wrongly indoctrinated Nigerians. It was the pupils that came from a school system where morning devotion was removed that are behind the insurgency and kidnappings happening now.

“The government must stop the operation of this new curriculum. It did not come out of a forward-looking research but a backward one. A stitch in time saves nine.”

The President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, made the demands in a statement issued by his Special Assistant (Media and Communications), Adebayo Oladeji, in reaction to a statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council over the alleged removal of CRS from the curriculum.

Our correspondent had reported that CAN raised objections about the curriculum during its meeting with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo .

Ayokunle had told Osinbajo of a case in Kwara State where a pupil was punished for refusing to register for the IRS.

“A Christian pupil in a secondary school in Kwara State had his body lacerated with cane by the Arabic teacher because the pupil refused to attend  an IRS lecture when the French teacher was not available and CRS, Hebrew or Greek were not part of the options at all,” he had said.

But the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, said the ministry had only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRS and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.

“A new subject has been introduced, called Religion and National Values. It is a fusion of religion and civics…I have not seen the details but in a case where you have subject combinations in the same period, everyone will attend lectures that correspond with their own religion.

“Arabic and Islamic Studies are not standing alone. Islamic Religious Study and Christian Religious Study as well as national values will be taught under a new subject,” she had said.

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Nigeria’s woes caused by political leaders — NLC, TUC

THE PUNCH - 4 hours 5 min ago

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria have said the hardship and woes in the country should be blamed on the ruling political elite, rather than on federalism.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and the TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, who said this during a joint press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, condemned the threats and counter-threats from the northern and southern regions, saying Nigeria could not afford another civil war.

The labour unions warned Nigerian workers, pensioners and peasants not to allow ‘a few desperate persons use them as cannon fodders’ to achieve selfish interests.

The unions’ presidents said the issues under contention would be resolved through good governance and a sustained fight against corruption.

The NLC boss said, “Our common enemy, whom we must all resolve to face, remains the corrupt political class, who, instead, of utilising our wealth, choose to loot for themselves and for their children. We, as labour unions, are determined to stop our elite from throwing our nation into another avoidable civil war.

“By no imagination should anyone blame the escalating injustice, poor living conditions; inability of states to pay salaries, massive unemployment and other lows on the structure of our federation.

“You have been witnesses to the degeneration of the national conversation into threats and counter-threats; of pulling down the federation by desperate forces, all of which were conveyed in vile language.

“Those fanning the embers of disunity need to be schooled in the realities of war. We appeal to all parts of Nigeria not to fall cheaply for war as a solution to our self-inflicted crisis. Let us, therefore, not allow them to use the poor Nigerian workers, pensioners and peasants as cannon fodders for their selfish interests.”

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Youths mobilise constituents to recall Ondo federal lawmaker

THE PUNCH - 4 hours 7 min ago

Peter Dada, Akure

Youths in Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency of Ondo State have begun to mobilise the people of the constituency to start the process of recalling the lawmaker representing the constituency at the House of Representatives, Mr. Bolarinwa Bamidele.

The youths, under the auspices of the Idanre/Ifedore Youth Coalition, alleged that the lawmaker had not made any positive impact in the federal constituency, adding that he had allegedly abandoned the constituency for a long time.

Addressing journalists in Akure on Thursday, the coordinator of the group, Mr. Adeyemi Alabi, alleged that Bamidele had absconded from the federal constituency.

The group also alleged that the lawmakers had not sponsored a single bill on the floor of the lower chamber of the National Assembly since he had been elected to represent the people.

Alabi further alleged that the lawmaker had refused to empower the people of the constituency like the other members of the House of Representatives in the state had done.

Alabi said, “We are, indeed, unfortunate in Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency; Bamidele has absconded from this area. His constituency office is non-functional. We can’t access our representative; he has not been home for a long time now.”

However, one of the aides of the federal lawmaker, Mr. Odeyemi Richard, who spoke on his behalf, said the allegations were not true. He explained that the federal legislator had done well for the people of the constituency.

He said, “We in Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency are not complaining, no lawmaker in Ondo has achieved what my boss had achieved in our federal constituency in the last two years. We have nine federal lawmakers at the lower chamber and none of them has achieved what my boss had achieved in the last two years.”

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Abuja, Lagos listed among 60 world’s most expensive cities

THE PUNCH - 4 hours 9 min ago

Lagos and Abuja ranked 29th and 59th respectively as the most expensive cities to live in a 2017 global cost of living survey.

The 23rd Cost of Living Survey carried out by Mercer, the world’s largest human resource consulting firm, found that African, Asian, and European cities dominated the 2017 list of the most expensive locations for working abroad.

According to the survey, Lagos ranked 13th while Abuja ranked 20th in 2016.

The capital city of Angola, Luanda, however, ranked first globally, moving up from second place and taking over from Hong Kong as the world’s most expensive city.

The survey attributed the cost of goods and security as factors that determined the cost of living in Luanda.

Other African cities that ranked high reflected high living costs and prices of goods for expatriate employees.

They include Victoria, Seychelles in the 14th position, N’djamena, Chad in the 16th position and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo ranked 18th.

The least expensive African cities include Gaborone, Botswana in the 196th position; Cape Town, South Africa ranking 199th and Blantyre, Malawi ranking 205th.

Windhoek, Namibia ranked 206 while Tunis, Tunisia ranked 209 and was found to be the least expensive country globally.

In Europe, three cities remained in the top 10 list of the most expensive cities for expatriates, which included Zurich, Geneva, and Bern which ranked fourth, seventh and 10th respectively.

Moscow ranked 14th and London ranked 30th position and the German cities of Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin dropped significantly ranking 98, 117 and 120 respectively.

Ms Nathalie Constantin-Métral, a principal at Mercer responsible for compiling the survey ranking, explained that the majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar.

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