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Foreign

Ahead of final election results, Rivlin weighs pick to start coalition talks

Chief Justice Hanan Melcer presents President Reuven Rivlin with Israel's final election results at the President's Residence in Jerusalem - Sept. 25, 2019
Chief Justice Hanan Melcer presents President Reuven Rivlin with Israel’s final election results at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem – Sept. 25, 2019

Rivlin is said to be weighing whether to hand Netanyahu the first chance to form a government

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is scheduled to meet with Central Elections Committee chairman and Supreme Court Chief Justice Hanan Melcer on Wednesday to receive the official results of last week’s general election.

The meeting comes as reports emerge that Rivlin is weighing whether to hand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the first opportunity to form a government if unity talks between the premier and Benny Gantz, head of the Blue & White party, do not progress. Israel election: Netanyahu’s party rises to 32 seats | September 25Play Video

The president traditionally defers to the candidate with the most recommendations from elected parliamentarians. But with the political system at an impasse, the final decision is ultimately left to Rivlin. 

Rivlin is expected to make an announcement shortly after meeting with Netanyahu and Gantz at the President’s Residence Wednesday evening.

On Tuesday, the Central Election Commission announced that it was revising its official count of the September 17 vote, giving the right-wing Likud party one extra seat at the cost of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism alliance. 

The new results leave the Prime Minister’s party Likud with 32 seats, still narrowly trailing political rival Blue & White. UTJ, initially granted eight seats, now has seven. 

However, the right-wing political bloc, led by Netanyahu, has a one seat advantage over Blue & White, 55 to 54, leaving Rivlin with few options as who to task first with forming a government. The president has until next Wednesday to make his final decision.

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Government News

Millions of Nigerians pay huge tithes and go to RCCG’s camp because they believe Adeboye has a special relationship with God – Reno Omokri

Millions of Nigerians pay huge tithes and go to RCCG

Following the kidnap of some RCCG pastors by alleged fulani herdsmen, Reno Omokri has called out Pastor Adeboye.

In a lenghty post on Instagram, Reno wrote,

‘millions of Nigerians pay huge tithes and go to RCCG’s Camp for Adeboye to pray for them because they believe Adeboye has a special relationship with God as an intercessor’.

Now that his pastor is abducted, it is WE that should pray for him? Am I missing something here? ?Moses did not call for prayers from the Israelites when they were in Egypt. He went to God, collected POWER and told Pharaoh, LET MY PEOPLE GO! Adeboye, ACTION is needed. Confront the Pharaoh in Aso Rock.

Speak the truth to the powerful but clueless General Buhari! Actualise the million man march threat that you made against former President Jonathan 

Enough of this USELESS, WATERY, TITHE and OFFERING focused ‘it is well’ Christianity! Turn your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 4:20 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of TALK but of POWER.” We don’t need ADEBOYES that just TALK feebly to the oppressors of the Church of Christ.

We need IDAHOSAS that command POWER and tear satan’s kingdom down! When it happened to others, Adeboye was saying ‘it is well’. Now that General Buhari’s CLUELESSNESS has gotten to his door, GO Adeboye wants us to ‘pray’? Is it no longer well sir? How come you suddenly found your voice? Go and meet Buhari and tell him ‘it is well’!

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Ghanaian actor, John Dumelo goes into politics

Ghanaian actor, John Dumelo goes into politics

Ghanaian actor, John Dumelo has officially joined politics and also suggested that he’ll fund his political campaign with his own money.

John Dumelo recently picked his nomination form to contest the parliamentary primaries of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Announcing his candidature, he wrote; ‘It’s time for Ayawaso West Wuogon….it’s time to listen and serve the interest of the people. It’s time for change….I John Dumelo, humbly ask you to support me on this journey. God bless you and God bless Ghana. Please follow the official campaign page for daily updates’. 

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News

APC Chairman Hon. Jotham Amos and Hon. Wilson Dauyegha in physical fight over primaries (video)

APC Chairman  Hon. Jotham Amos and Hon. Wilson Dauyegha in physical fight over primaries (video)

Ahead of the gubernatorial election scheduled to hold in Bayelsa State on November 16, a video of Bayelsa State lawmaker, Hon. Wilson Ayakpo Dauyegha in physical fight with the All Progressives Congress (APC) chairman in the state, Hon. Jothan Amos has surfaced. 

The fight between the state’s APC Chairman and Dauyegha, a known political ally of the immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, occurred just after the lawmaker representing Ekeremor Constituency II in the Bayelsa state House of Assembly tore a paper he was given to sign. 

Eyewitnesses claimed that the fight was centered on the mode of party gubernatorial primary. While Lokpobiri is pushing for an indirect primary, the party chairman seems to have adopted the direct primary option.  Hon Dauyegha was heard saying in the viral video “What kind of chairman are you? You are a stupid chairman. I’ll deal with you.”

Here is a video of the fight;

In a statement after the video went viral, Hon. Wilson Ayakpo Dauyegha said he only defended himself but never assaulted the party Chairman. According to him, Hon. Amos wanted him to sign a document without knowing its content. 

He said “The chairman called me a night before the incident that he wanted to see me, I told him was in Port Harcourt but it was late, so he said since I was travelling tomorrow we’ll meet at the airport before departing for Abuja.”

“On reaching the airport, the party chairman, Jothan Amos told me to come into his car with military men and was coercing and pacifying me into signing a document and I openly refused. He also said ever since he made me minority leader I have been avoiding him. This is really sad and it’s a wrong precedence to begin the elections.

“I wasn’t even at the stakeholders meeting but I heard there wasn’t any tangible agreement, so why bring a document to force me to sign? That was why I jumped out of his car and pushed him to take defense,” he said.

“I tore the paper because while we were struggling in the car my pen drew a line, so I don’t want to be mentioned to have signed the document.

“It should be noted here that if a mode of election is to be chosen, it should be done the proper way with every member of the party agreeing and not coercing members secretly, which the party chairman has been doing since after the stake holders meeting.

“The party chairman has been going about forcing members of the party with military men to sign documents on the mode of the elections, which has raised an uproar and serious concern to major stakeholders.

“Since the outcome of the meeting was in stalemate, he would have allowed the major stakeholders meet and resolve issue before signing of documents” he said. 

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Government News

Senator Elisa Abbo allegedly in out-of-court settlement negotiation with lady he assaulted

Senator Elisa Abbo allegedly in out-of-court settlement negotiation with lady he assaulted

Senator Elisha Abbo, the Adawama born lawmaker is allegedly in an out-of-court settlement negotiation with the lady he assaulted, as confirmed by insiders. 

We reported yesterday that Bibra Warmate, the shop attendant and nursing mother assaulted by Senator Elisha Abbo in the viral video failed to appear before the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the incident. When contacted by Punch, she also failed to give her reason for being absent. 

Though top sources claimed that an out-of-court settlement negotiation is ongoing between Senator Abbo and Warmate, her lawyer denied the claim stating that they have a lawsuit against the lawmaker and will be going ahead with it. 

“I can categorically tell you that there is no such negotiation and that the matter is in court. We have an action against him (Abbo) in court. We are suing him” the lawyer said. 

This is coming after Chairman of senate ad committee that was set up to look into the incident, Senator Sam Egwu, requested for more time to conclude the investigation and report back to the National Assembly.

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Government News

We’re yet to verify Governor Makinde’s N48bn assets — CCB

We?re yet to verify Governor Makinde?s N48bn assets ? CCB

The Director of the Code of Conduct Bureau in Oyo State, Moses Atolagbe, on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, said they are still waiting for a directive from the CCB head office on the verification of the N48bn assets Governor Seyi Makinde publicly declared. 

Speaking to newsmen in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, the CCB Director also disclosed that some people who served in the last administration were yet to declare their assets.

He said: “We have a few people that have not complied with the position of the law. They are very few in number; some of them are out of the country and others are based it on health ground. They have got in touch with the bureau and one of them showed up on Monday.

“We will just give them a little ample opportunity, when they don’t comply they would be prosecuted.

“We have done that before, a former commissioner Oyo State in time past had been prosecuted for failure to comply.”

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News

Victims of Senator Elisha Abbo’s assault fail to appear before Senate panel

Victims of Senator Elisha Abbo?s assault fail to appear before Senate panel?

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The Senate Ad hoc committee which is investigating the alleged misconduct of Senator Elisha Abbo has said that the victim slapped by the lawmaker in a viral video did not honour its invitation.



The Chairman of the panel,  Senator Sam Egwu, who stated this at plenary on Wednesday, said all efforts to make both the assaulted lady and the shop owner appear before the committee did not succeed.



The former Governor of Ebonyi State said the embattled Senator refused to make submissions before the ad hoc panel because he said doing so would be subjudice.



He also said both the Commissioner of Police in charge of FCT and the lawyers to the victims also refused to make submissions, citing the same reasons.



Egwu, therefore, requested that the matter be stepped down pending the determination of the criminal case instituted against Abbo by the police.



The President of the Senate,  Ahmad Lawan,  who presided over the plenary,  disagreed with Egwu stressing that the panel could go ahead with its work notwithstanding the court case.



Lawan said what the Senate was investigating was the alleged misconduct of its member and not the criminal case against him which is already being handled by the police.



Egwu, therefore, sought the permission of the leadership for appointment one-week extension to enable him to submit the report.



The Senate President granted the request.

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News

Group backs Senate’s move to protect Nigerian airlines from unfair competition

The President of ART, Mr Gbenga Olowo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos that the move, albeit belated, was a welcome development.

Group backs Senate’s move to protect Nigerian airlines from unfair competition [Ships & Ports]
Group backs Senate’s move to protect Nigerian airlines from unfair competition [Ships & Ports]
A group of aviation professionals, the Aviation Round Table (ART), has commended the move by the Senate to protect Nigerian airlines from unfair competition in relation to their foreign counterparts.

The President of ART, Mr Gbenga Olowo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos that the move, albeit belated, was a welcome development.

NAN reports that the lawmakers had on July 10 resolved to invite the indigenous airline operators to explain to the Senate the challenges they were facing in the aviation industry.

They had also resolved to summon the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The senators want an explanation why foreign airlines are allowed to fly multiple routes within Nigeria and why some of them have more than one daily frequency into the country; a practice that is not allowed in other countries.

The President of ART, Mr Gbenga Olowo  [Guardian]

The President of ART, Mr Gbenga Olowo [Guardian]

Olowo said that the ART had always advocated the protection of Nigerian carriers by the Federal Government and its agencies and would continue to do so until it gets the desired results.

He said: ”The Senate will have to revert a lot of the recklessness that have taken place in our Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs).

“We, in ART, have continuously said that what we are doing to our domestic airlines is prodigal.

“Nigeria has been doing a lot of regulations on safety and has been getting pass marks, but in the area of economic regulations, we have been very reckless.

“Economic regulations, as far as BASA is concerned, is coming up with policies that will first of all protect your own airlines and local businesses.”

Olowo said unfortunately, the opposite was what was in place in Nigeria, compelling the country’s airlines to be suffering lack of reciprocity and negative balance of trade.

He noted that Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, which asked for government protection following its recent flight operations to Sharjah-Dubai, was justified to seek for assistance due to the hostilities meted to Nigerian carriers by foreign governments.

“ADC tried London and failed; Bellview tried India, Amsterdam, London, Dubai and failed; Medview went to Dubai and failed and now Air Peace is making another good effort to break into these lucrative routes.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, made the announcement after an hour closed-door session.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, made the announcement after an hour closed-door session.

“So, if our government is serious, especially the aviation ministry and the economic regulations department of the NCAA, they should agree with the protection Air Peace is asking for, which is very simple,” Olowo said.

According to him, what Air Peace is asking for is the elimination of unfair competition that affected its predecessors on the international routes.

Olowo said for instance, Etihad and Emirates Airlines had multiple frequencies into Abuja and Lagos, stressing that in order to balance the scale, Air Peace should be granted same rights into the United Arab Emirates.

He said: “Right now, they are doing seven, and our economic regulators have to reduce it to three so that the market will be free for competition.

“Otherwise, those doing seven can drop tariff and will knock off their competitor from Nigeria. So, if you want to help your own, you have to make the reciprocity even.”

Olowo advised the senate to make the hearing public and also extend invitation to the ART and other aviation professionals in order to achieve its purpose.

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News

Court of Appeal to deliver judgement on a suit challenging Buhari’s qualification for the 2019 presidential election today

Court of Appeal to deliver judgement on a suit challenging Buhari

The Court of Appeal will today rule in a suit filed against President Buhari, challenging his qualification for the 2019 presidential election.

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson, had on July 8, reserved judgment in the suit after listening to the argument canvassed by counsel to parties in the matter. The court earlier held that date for its judgment would be communicated to parties. But as the 60-day time frame provided by the law for the hearing of the matter expires July 12, the court today communicated to parties of its readiness to deliver its judgment on July 12.

Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris had approached the appellate court to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court. The trial court declined to hear their suit instituted to challenge the educational qualification of President Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 general election.  

At the last sitting, counsel to the appellant, Mr Ukpai Ukairo, insisted that President Buhari was not educationally qualified to have stood for the presidential poll.  This, according to him, was on the grounds that the required certificates were not attached to his form CF001, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for clearance to contest the presidential poll.  

The council denied the claim that the suit of the appellants was statute barred. He added that the case was instituted on November 5, 2018 within the 14 days allowed by law. He said the cause of action started with the announcement and publication by INEC of successful candidates for the 2019 general election on October 25, 2018.

Ukairo, therefore, urged the Court of Appeal to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the Federal High Court on grounds of miscarriage of justice. He urged the court to nullify Buhari’s participation in the February 23 presidential election because he was not educational qualified for the poll at the time he did.  However, lawyers to the 1st and 2nd respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking merit.  

Buhari’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, specifically told the Appeal Court that the case of the appellant was statute barred having not been filed within the mandatory period stipulated by the law.  He urged the court to uphold the decision of the Federal High Court to the effect that the suit was not filed in line with the position of the law. The counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr Babatunde Ogala, aligned himself with Buhari’s submission and urged the court to dismiss the appeal.

INEC counsel Onyeri Anthony, said the commission is neutral and would abide by the decision of the court. The appellants in their appeal are asking the appellate court to reverse the judgment of Justice Ahmed Mohammed on the grounds that the processes filed by Buhari and used to strike out their suit were not competent. They faulted the judgment of the lower court, which was predicated on the grounds that the suit was statute barred. The appellants claimed that the Federal High Court erred in law and in its decision because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as candidate of the APC.  

They urged the Court of Appeal to assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant all the reliefs sought at the Federal High Court but which were refused. Among the reliefs was a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certifcate to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of the President of Nigeria and that he should be disqualified. They also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of APC.

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News

Customs loses 200 personnel annually to anti-smuggling fight – Ali

The Customs Comptroller-General, Retired Col Hameed Ali, disclosed this on Thursday at a meeting organised by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the service chiefs and heads of paramilitary organisations.

Comptroller of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali
Comptroller of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it loses no fewer than 200 personnel yearly to the fight against smuggling.

The Customs Comptroller-General, Retired Col Hameed Ali, disclosed this on Thursday at a meeting organised by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the service chiefs and heads of paramilitary organisations.

Others participants at the meeting were stakeholders from the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) industries.

Represented by Mr Abdullahi Babani, an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Ali said smuggling was the greatest challenge facing the service and all hands must be on deck to defeat it.

He said NCS was disturbed by the high level of smuggling in the country and it was working tirelessly to reduce it to the bearest minimum.

Alli urged the Federal Government to work to improve its fiscal and monetary policies to help check the level of smuggling, especially the textile materials.

“The government needs to get its fiscal and monetary policies right; the cost of business is high, there is need for the government to provide roads, security and power for our local industries to thrive.

“When these are made available and easier, their products will be cheap and able to compete with the foreign ones because this is one of the reasons why smuggling thrives.

“Frankly, to address smuggling, the local industries must set the right prices and quality to have desired patronage.

“The market is there, our local textile industries must be ready to compete and this is Nigerian project. We shall work with CBN and other relevant stakeholders in achieving it.

“Our core mandate is to suppress smuggling and we are committed to achieving that. Therefore all stakeholders must support us to reduce it,” he said.

The customs boss urged stakeholders in the CTG industries to help the service in the area of intelligence by providing useful information that would assist in identifying the smugglers with a view to punishing them accordingly.