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Revealed! How NBET boss, Marilyn Amobi made millions through ‘fraudulent contracts’

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Revealed! How NBET boss, Marilyn Amobi made millions through ‘fraudulent contracts’

The managing director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity trading Plc (NBET), Marilyn Amobi fraudulently paid at least N2 billion to two power generating companies, documents obtained by Leaks NG have shown. 

The documents also revealed that Amobi, who was made the substantive MD of NBET in July 2016, was also involved in a series of corruption allegations such as subversion of board approvals and infraction of procurement laws.

FRAUDULENT PAYMENTS TO GENCOs

A few weeks after she was confirmed managing director of NBET, the organisation that manages the electricity pool in the country’s electricity supply industry, Amobi started overpaying two power generating companies – Omotosho Electric Genco and Olorunsogo Electric Company – in flagrant violation of the details of a power purchase agreement (PPA) the companies signed with the government in February and August 2016, respectively.

The PPA is an agreement between NBET and power generating plants for the sale and purchase of energy generated by the plants. Embedded within the PPA are the gas supply agreement (GSA) that covers the supply of natural gas to the generating plant and the gas transportation agreement (GTA), which is an agreement between gas transporters and power generating plants.

Revealed! How NBET boss, Marilyn Amobi made millions through ‘fraudulent contracts’

Omotosho Electric Genco

According to the PPA, to qualify for full payment, generating plants must provide evidence that they have active GSA and GTA or else the power purchase agreement would be deemed inactive and would only receive payment for the power they supplied.

“Seller (Omotosho Genco) hereby agrees that any claim for Available Capacity payment under the PPA are conditional on the Seller providing evidence acceptable to the Buyer (NBET) confirming that it has a legally binding and enforceable Gas Supply and Aggregation Agreement and Gas Transportation Agreement, in accordance with clause 3.2.2 and 4.2.1 of the PPA,” the agreement obtained by Leaks NG stated.

However, despite the fact that Omotosho did not provide evidence of gas supply aggregation and transportation, the company continued to tender request for full payment of 20 months. According to the document in possession of Leaks NG, the over-invoicing was detected in October 2017 following an NBET internal audit.

On September 22, 2016, NBET had written to Omotosho requesting that it fulfill the condition for the PPA. The generating company was first given a 30-day grace to provide the necessary document. The window to provide the document was later extended to 90 days yet it never provided the document.

For instance, in June 2017, Omotosho supplied energy to the tune of 33.16 megawatts but invoiced up to 161.74 megawatts. This implies that Omotosho laid claim to an excess of 128.58 megawatts as excess capacity for the cycle. For this capacity, Omotosho requested for payment of N1,023,532,574 instead of N209,824,177, leaving an excess of N813,708,397 for the capacity in June 2016.

Similarly, Olorunsogo Power Plc, whose PPA took effect from August 2014 in the said month, tendered 11.9 megawatts for energy while 197.83 as capacity. Since the PPA was not active, the capacity ought to be equal to the energy to make the firm qualify for payment as stated in the agreement.

Revealed! How NBET boss, Marilyn Amobi made millions through ‘fraudulent contracts’

Olorunsogo Electric Company

Olorunsogo issued an invoice of N1, 251, 881, 528 for capacity for June 2016 as against N75, 363, 267 calculated by its actual energy. The difference is an over-invoicing of N1, 176, 518, 261. For both firms, the over-invoicing amounts to N1, 990, 226, 658 as excess in just one month, June 2016.

Leaks NG could not lay hold to all invoices issued by the companies but the two obtained showed that NBET made partial payments to the companies. In one of the invoices, Amobi paid Omotosho N339, 813, 418 in October 2016 -the fund was part payment for July 2016 energy and capacity.

On the same date: October 11, 2016, NBET paid Olorunsogo N372, 498, 731 also as part payment for July. These payments were clearly in breach of the PPA and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) order of transitional stage electricity market (TEM).

Order IV of The TEM states that: “Gencos without effective PPAs shall be paid for their delivered energy and delivered capacity by NBET (Delivered capacity for the purposes of this order means the capacity equivalent of the energy delivered at Gencos busbar.”

These illegal payments wouldn’t have been possible without Amobi’s insistence. While the internal audit of NBET refused to process the payment, Amobi signed the July payment on October 13, 2017, assuming the role of internal audit in violation of financial regulation.

This is a breach of Section 1705 of the financial regulations which states that “the Head of Internal Audit Unit in all ministries/extra-ministerial offices and other arms of government shall ensure that 100 per cent pre-payment audit of all checked and passed vouchers is carried out and the vouchers forwarded under security schedule direct to the appropriate Central Pay Office for payment. Checked and passed vouchers received in the internal audit Unit must be promptly dealt with and, under no circumstances shall a voucher be held in that unit for more than forty-eight (48) hours.”

ILLEGAL PAYMENT TO LAW FIRMS

Sometimes in 2014, NBET wrote the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to request the agency sign off on power procurement and retroactive no objection in procurement. The request simply means that NBET requests to be excluded from being subjected to BPP act in its power purchase agreement. The request was declined by BPP.

In a response dated April 29, 2014, BPP stated that NBET, like other agencies, must follow due procurement process in power procurement.

BPP noted in its reply, “That if section 5 (a) of PPA was intended to exclude some sectors like the Power Sector, it would have been stated clearly. Consequently, giving NBET a one-off approval for NBET’s power procurement process would not only amount to a contravention of the Act, but it would also open a floodgate of similar requests thereby engendering confusion in the system.

“It is pertinent for NBET to note that electricity (being goods) can only be procured within one of the procedures stated in part 42.4 of standard bidding documents.

“The bureau therefore strongly advises that NBET should consult the Public Procurement Regulations, manuals for complex projects and standard bidding documents for procurement of goods, as this would assist NBET in complying with extant procurement rules and regulations.”

However, the management of NBET, then under the leadership of Rumundaka Wonodi, its inaugural managing director, was unsatisfied with the position of BPP. The agency sought legal advice on the way forward. On June 1 2015, NBET advertised a notice for an expression of interest to engage lawyers in such cases, more specifically on BPP’s response.

According to the advert, the successful law firm is expected to discharge such duties as, “General, corporate, commercial and administrative law, with a view to advising NBET on general commercial and contract matters, providing legal opinions as necessary, and advising on various civil law.”

According to a report by NBET’s evaluation committee, three firms: Azinge and Azinge, Chukwuka Ugwu and Associate and John Erameh submitted their bids. The process was however truncated upon advice by the internal audit department of NBET.

Surprisingly, in April 2017, two years after, the internal audit received a request from Amobi for payment of N30 million to two firms. Amobi wanted Azinge and Azinge to be paid a contract sum of N14 million and Aelex N16 million respectively. The process that led to this request was one replete with infractions and breach of public procurement law.

It is worthy of note that the procurement process was stopped in 2015 and if there would be a need for the services of law firms in 2017, the engagement is supposed to take a entire new process according to procurement laws.

The BPP act in Section 16(1)(b) states the process of procurement; “based only on procurement plan supported by prior budgetary appropriations and no procurement proceedings shall be formalised until the procuring entity has ensured that funds  are available to meet the obligations and subject to the threshold in the regulations made by the Bureau, has obtained a “Certificate of ‘No Objection’ to Contract Award” from the Bureau.”

There was no new advertisement or procurement process but Amobi presented the two firms for payment.

Surprisingly, one of the firms laying claim to payment, Aelex, was not part of the 2015 process, as the firm was not captured in the evaluation report.

ILLEGAL PAYMENT TO CONSULTANT

In 2016, NEXANT, a software and energy firm, engaged a former staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Uzoma Achinaya, to provide advisory and analytics work for NBET.

Revealed! How NBET boss, Marilyn Amobi made millions through ‘fraudulent contracts’

John Gustafson, CEO Nexant

According to the arrangement, Achinaya would work for NBET for a period, present a report to NEXANT and claim his payment from NEXANT. This indeed happened but instead of NEXANT to pay the consultant, NBET’s leadership decided to pay him despite not being party of the engagement agreement.

On January 23 2017, Achinaya wrote Amobi requesting NBET to pay him the sum of N7 million advance payment for the work he had done so far.

“I refer to the advisory and analytics work that l have done for NBET on the sustainable solutions to the Liquidity Challenges in the Nigerian Electricity industry.

“I appreciate the steps NBET management is taking to resolve the issues with NEXANT regarding my contract which has resulted in the delayed payment of my fees for the services rendered. However, I have some very urgent family commitments, including school fees for my children, which need immediate funding. It will be appreciated if I can be granted a payment advance in the sum of Seven Million Naira (N7, 000, 000.00}, in lieu of the money I am owed for the work already done, to enable me meet some of these commitments.

“The amount should be recovered from my payment when the issues with NEXANT are finally resolved.”

The irregularities in the request were flagged by the internal audit, which declined payment to Achinaya.

The audit department argued that it declined the payment because the Amobi’s N7.5 million request was above her N2.5 approval threshold and that the process of contracting was not subjected to any procurement process.

Internal audit also argued that the consultant does not have a tax identification number (TIN) as stipulated by procurement law, inside sources told Leaks NG.

To bypass the procurement part, Amobi allegedly directed the Parastatal Tenders Board of NBET to seek consideration and approval for the requested fund. The board submitted its report in March claiming that due process was followed in the award of the consultancy contract. The memorandum for consideration and approval indicated that the bid was opened on March 1, 2017, with a deadline of March 6.

At the end of the process, two individuals were said to have emerged out of five expressions of interest received; Joe Agah with 59.7 total weighted scores and Uzoma Achinaya with 95.1. The contract was later awarded to Achinaya at the sum of N25, 850, 000.

Even at that, the board did a shabby job in the cover-up. The consultant started work in 2016, requested for payment in January 2017 for his ongoing work but the NBET management instituted a post-dated procurement process to make the payment possible.

TRANSFER OF STAFF WITHOUT BOARD’S APPROVAL

In 2017, Amobi made a request to the accountant-general for officials from his office to be transferred to NBET to head the internal audit and finance departments. Inside sources alleged that she made this request because she felt the officials who headed the department at NBET were standing in her way.

Revealed! How NBET boss, Marilyn Amobi made millions through ‘fraudulent contracts’

Marilyn Amobi

The request was granted in June 2017. The AGF posted Hauwa Bello from the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) to head the internal audit. He also posted Sambo Abdullahi to the Learning and Development, a newly created department at NBET. Waziri Bintube of the finance department was reposted to Risk and Guarantee, another department created by Amobi allegedly to victimise the two top officials.

A month earlier, Amobi had facilitated the transfer of two people, Ajulo Adesola from the National Agency for Science and Engineering (NASENI) and Acho Onyechege from the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to NBET as treasury officers.

Though the new postings were communicated in a letter by AGF on 30 May 2018, they flouted the requirement of NBET charter which places the responsibility of recommending postings within the agency on the human resources committee of NBET.

Section 2.4 (b) of the charter state that the Human Resource Committee shall “‘review and make recommendations to the Board for approval of the Company’s organisational structure and any proposed amendments.”

Although the accountant-general reserves the authority to approve such reviews, the office does not have the power to make postings.

AMOBI EVASIVE, ABUSIVE

When contacted to respond to the series of allegations against her, Amobi, rained abuses Leaks NG reporter.

Without first listening to the reporters’s questions, in in a statement, replete with swear words, the MD she said she would not comment to any of the allegations because the issues are in court.

“If they are things about NBET that are currently in court, there is really no need…some of them are in court. I’m sure some people brought this to you,” she said.

“You’ve written a story about us before of us sending some people to America which of course didn’t happen. These are issues that are with EFCC, ICPC and even in the court.”

After calling the reporter many unprintable names, Amobi ended the call.

Credit: TheCable

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Michelle Obama encourages Greta Thunberg after Trump’s mockery

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Michelle Obama encourages Greta Thunberg after Trump's mockery

Michelle Obama, Former US First lady has encouraged 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg with words of advice after the 2019 TIME personality of the year was mocked on Twitter by US president Donald Trump.

 

On Thursday, President Trump called out Thunberg on Twitter after TIME magazine named her as their personality of the year following her numerous public speeches and activism towards climate change despite her young age.

According to Trump, Thunberg has serious anger issues and has to ‘chill’.

“Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!” Trump wrote.

The teenager in response showed class as she used Trump’s jibe against her as her new Twitter bio. Michelle Obama then reached out to the teenager via Twitter.

“Don’t let anyone dim your light,” the former first lady wrote on Twitter to Thunberg.
“Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all.”

 

Without mentioning Trump’s name, Obama added, “Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”

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Stop all charges against Sowore now, Falana warns Malami

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Stop all charges against Sowore now, Falana warns Malami

Earlier today, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), Human rights lawyer mandated the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), to withdraw pending criminal charges against his clients, Mr. Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare.

 

Falana said in a statement that there was no evidence to get the ‘RevolutonNow’ protests conveners convicted. He was reacting to an announcement by the AGF office on Friday that a letter had been sent to the Department of State Services to hands off the case involving Sowore and send the case files to his office.

The operatives of the DSS invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja to rearrest Sowore on December 6. The rearrest, which led to the disruption of court proceedings presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, came less than 24 hours after Sowore and Bakare were released from custody where they had been held for over four months.

Falana said the court invasion by the DSS was what prompted the AGF to take over the prosecution of his clients. He, however, noted that despite the directive by the AGF for the DSS to hands off the case, the DSS was still bent on fishing for evidence to file fresh charges against his clients.

He stated, “Convinced that the pending case would collapse like a pack of cards, the SSS is currently fishing for evidence to nail Sowore.

“In spite of the directive of the AGF to hands over the case, the SSS subjected Sowore to a four-hour interrogation yesterday (December 12, 2019). The entire interrogation pertained to Sowore’s alleged links with the proscribed Boko Haram sect, IPOB, and IMN which he vehemently denied.

“At Sowore’s instance a member of the legal defence team, Mr. Abubakar Marshal, witnessed the marathon interrogation. The plan is to charge Sowore with terrorism as a follow-up to the unsubstantiated allegations of a presidential media aide.

“In the light of the foregoing, we urge the AGF to file a nolle prosequi motion to end the macabre dance which has exposed the country to avoidable embarrassment.”

He insisted that the action the AGF had so far taken on the prosecution of Sowore and his co-defendant was not a takeover “because it was the AGF that filed the case of September 20, 2019, and farmed it out to Dr. Hassan Liman, SAN”.

He added, “But in view of the violent invasion of the court by the armed operatives of the SSS the AGF has decided to sack the external prosecution team and have the case prosecuted by the Department of Public Prosecution.”

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FG suspends operation of Turkish Airlines in Nigeria

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FG suspends operation of Turkish Airlines in Nigeria

The Federal Government of Nigeria has suspended the operations of Turkish Airlines in the country due to repeated cases of poor passenger treatment by the international carrier.

 

It gave the directive through the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, directing the airline to suspend its operations until it was ready to operate with the right size of aircraft that could transport all passengers with their baggage at the same time.

 

It was gathered that the government’s directive came as a result of recent cases in which the airline failed to bring in passengers into Nigeria together with their checked-in baggage. In a letter to the airline by the acting Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Abdullahi Sidi, which was made available by the Federal Ministry of Aviation in Abuja on Thursday, December 12th the authority expressed displeasure at the incidents, which it said had been going on for over two weeks.

 

Sidi said the incidents had become so bad that most recent Turkish Airlines flights arrived in Nigeria without more than 85 per cent of passengers’ baggage on board.

He said,

“Our airport authority has been facing a serious crisis controlling the passengers at the airport whenever they arrive without their baggage. This issue has made passengers to carry out several mob actions at our airports and it is a great threat to our airport facilities.  

“In view of all these, and a series of meetings held with the Turkish Airlines personnel, which did not yield any solution to this problem, the NCAA is therefore left with no option than to direct Turkish Airlines to suspend its operations into Nigeria until such a time when the airline is ready to operate with the right size of aircraft that can transport all passengers with their baggage at the same time.  

“If no remedial action is carried out by your airline, this suspension shall be effective from the 16th of December, 2019.”

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Nigerian man returning from China slumps, dies at Lagos airport

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Nigerian man returning from China slumps, dies at Lagos airport

A passenger, identified as Chukwuma Anthony Ezeh, on Wednesday slumped and died at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

An official source at the MMIA, Lagos arrival terminal told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the passenger slumped on arrival from China and died while waiting to collect his luggage.

Ezeh, according to information on his passport, was 47 years old at the time of the incident.

The spokesperson of the Police MMIA Command, DSP Joseph Alabi, who confirmed the incident to NAN at about 9.25p.m. on Wednesday, said the passenger came on board Ethiopian Airline.

According to him, the incident happened at about 3:15p.m. and the deceased was confirmed dead at the MMIA Clinic.

“While walking at the arrival hall the man slumped and died,” he said.

Alabi added that Ezeh’s corpse had been deposited at the Air Force Base Hospital mortuary.

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Court sacks Ooni of Ife’s second in command, orders replacement

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Court sacks Ooni of Ife's second in command, orders replacement

A state high court in Osogbo, Osun state, has sacked Idowu Adediwura, Obalufe of Ife, the second in command to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi

The case which was presided over by Justice Foluke Awolalu on Wednesday will see the Oa replaced within 21 days.

Obalufe, the traditional prime minister of Ife, is next in rank to the Ooni. Abayomi Elugbuji, on behalf of himself and the Aga ruling house, had filed a suit challenging the installation of Adediwura.

In the suit, he argued that the installation of the sacked monarch was not in accordance with the provisions of Ife chieftaincy declaration of 1957.

While giving the judgement, Awolalu held that going by the Ife chieftaincy declaration, it was not the turn of Ajagbusiekun ruling house, where Adediwura hails from, to produce the obalufe.

She said it was the turn of Aga ruling house to fill the position, asking that Adediwura should restrain from parading himself as the Obalufe from henceforth.

The judge directed Ogunwusi to replace Adediwura with Elugbuji from the Aga ruling house within three weeks.

Babafemi Akande, Elugbuji’s counsel, described the judgment as “sound and clear”.

“The law is very clear, nobody is above the law and no one is below it. So, the judge gave the judgment in accordance with the dictates of the law,” he said.

This is the second major ruling affecting traditional rulers in the south-west in the last three weeks.

Last month, the supreme court sacked Samuel Adebayo-Adegbola, a monarch with the title “Eleruwa of Eruwa” in Oyo state.

The court had held that Adegbola was not a member of the ruling house whose turn was it to produce the successor of Bolanle Olaniyan, to the previous Eleruwa, who died in 1994.

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45 political parties call for Igbo presidency in 2023

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45 political parties call for Igbo presidency in 2023

The Equity Group, a combination of 45 political parties on Thursday called on the South–East and politicians of Igbo extraction to work together to produce the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, come 2023.

The National Chairman of the group, Mr Okey Chikwendu, made the call at a news conference in Abuja. According to him, the total exclusion of Ndigbo from national leadership equation has become matter of grave concern to well-meaning Nigerians.

Chikwendu said the Igbo deserve visionary treatment and should be given space to produce the next president. According to him, Igbo presidency will work assiduously towards genuine national unity given their spread and investment in all the nooks and crannies of the country. “Historically and geographically, Nigeria sits on a tripod namely: North, East and West. R

“Under both variants of civilian/democracy and military government regimes that have ruled in the post-independence Nigeria (since 1960), Ndigbo of the present South-East Geo-Political Zone have literally been “political on-lookers’’.

“The apparent total exclusion of Ndigbo, an important part of the national tripod from the national leadership equation, has become quite a troubling matter of grave concern to well-meaning Nigerians,” he said. Chikwendu called on all patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians to supports and partner the Igbo on this cause, come 2023.

In the same vein, one of the National Leaders of Equity Group, Mr Frank Igwebuike, stressed that to promote equity, justice and fairness it was the turn of an Igbo man to take over the mantle of power as the president comes 2023. He said, “it is not within the power of the incumbent president to hand over power to anybody, it is the turn of the Igbo man to become the president putting into consideration many variables.

“We are calling on Nigerians to have a rethink. We must talk of the real unity in diversity,” he said. Another leader of the group, Mr Godson Okoye, also stressed the readiness of the Igbo to take over the mantle of leadership by the end of the present administration. “There is no disunity in the Igbo as perceived in some quarters; this must be achieved for us to say there is unity, equity, justice and peace in this country,” he stressed.

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Former AMCON chairman, Muiz Banire finally speaks up on his replacement

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Former AMCON chairman, Muiz Banire finally speaks up on his replacement

Former chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Muiz Banire who has finally spoken on his replacement says he was disturbed after the news broke.

On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari implemented the amended AMCON law by replacing Banire with Edward Adamu, deputy governor for corporate services at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

 

In an article published by The Sun, Banire said he was in London when he received the report that a new chairman had been appointed at AMCON.

He said he got disturbed by the insinuations which made the rounds over the development.

“News about this development came to me while in London in the middle of a crash education programme,” Banire said.

“Interestingly, I was disturbed with complaints and murmurs by some people who read lots of insinuations into the development and were apparently in a mourning mood, as if disengagement from a political appointment was tantamount to bereavement.

“The grumbling from the supposed well-wishers underscores the problematic aspect of Nigerians as a people who see appointments into political offices as open sesame to riches and an opportunity for self-enrichment.

“Whereas, in saner climes, political offices are seen as opportunities to serve humanity, to the glory of God, in Nigeria, it is seen as an opportunity for self-enrichment.

“My days in AMCON as chairman were dominated by pressure I gladly entertained with all sense of responsibility in order to be able to serve my people.”

Banire added that people do not bother if political officials succeed in their duties, but they would rather see the appointment as an opportunity for self-enrichment.

“Once an appointee is relieved of his appointment, mournful glares compete on burrowed foreheads, languid expressions of personal losses dominate discussions among beneficiaries or intended beneficiaries of loot from a public office recently lost,” he said.

“Lots of motives, from ethnicity to religion, to personal scores and political intrigues are adduced as reasons why the appointor must have terminated the appointment or disengaged the public office holder. In my situation, messages of consolation and clear condemnation oozed from some mouths the moment it was announced that a new nomination had been made.

“It was a terrible distraction as I was struggling to imbibe as much as possible from the highly intellectually resourceful lecturer that was handling the on-going session. Calls came into my phone in torrents. Loads of messages poured into my phone with the constant flashes of light from the mobile gadget constituting a needless distraction until I had to switch it off.

“That you were considered worthy to serve the public in an elective or appointive office is an opportunity to give your best to the community to the benefit of the living and in preparation of a decent living for the yet unborn generations. It must not be regarded as a kingship on which someone should expect life tenure.

“In fact, as may be recalled, during the resistance to my nomination at inception, I clearly made this point that “I am not jobless and, therefore, not in search of any appointment.” I only owe the nation my service whenever called upon and I have the capacity to deliver.”

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Man arrested for killing his 3-year-old son in Kano

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Man arrested for killing his 3-year-old son in Kano

A 40-year-old man identified as Musbahu has been arrested for killing his 3-year-old son in Kano

The Kano State Police Command confirmed the arrest through the spokesperson of the command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna.

He explained that the incident happened on Thursday at Mahaukaci Quarter in Gaya Local Government Area of Kano State.

Haruna said the suspect was in police custody and will be charged to court after the investigation.

Speaking to the press, the suspect, who admitted to have committed the crime, said he did it to save his son and himself from embarrassment as the child was born out of wedlock and he has nobody to take care of him.

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Abuja-Kaduna highway now safe, El-Rufai says

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Abuja-Kaduna highway now safe, El-Rufai says

Kidnapping on Abuja-Kaduna highway has substantially reduced and the highway is now safe for roadusers, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said on Thursday.

The Governor made the remark at an inter-agency security meeting held in Kaduna.

Early this year, Kaduna state was in the news for the wrong reasons due to rising cases of kidnapping, communal clashes, and rural banditry.

At some point, the Kaduna-Abuja highway and Birnin-Gwari road became a no-go area for motorists largely due to the incessant abduction of travellers and residents.

But El-Rufai said the kidnappers terrorising the highway have been substantially degraded and defeated by security agencies, and therefore declared the road safe for motorists.

At the security meeting, which involved officials from the Police, Army, Nigerian Security and  Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and others, El-Rufai expressed happiness that no one has been kidnapped on the highway in the last two and a half months.

He attributed the success to the enhanced level of collaboration and coordination among security agencies.

However, he urged them to sustain the inter-agency collaboration while also assuring that the State Government is committed to complementing their efforts through logistics support, mobility, hardware and other means

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British PM, Boris Johnson wins huge mandate for swift Brexit

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British PM, Boris Johnson wins huge mandate for swift Brexit

The Brexit palaver in the UK is looking to come to an end as Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a resounding election victory on Friday that will allow him to end three years of political paralysis.

The Brexit divorce represents Britain’s biggest political and economic gamble since World War Two, cutting the world’s fifth-largest economy adrift from the vast trading bloc and testing the integrity of the United Kingdom.

For Boris Johnson, who had faced gridlock in parliament and focused his campaign on a vow to “Get Brexit Done”, victory was a vindication. “The people of this country have given us tonight a huge great stonking mandate,” he told activists at Conservative Party headquarters, according to a recording published by Buzzfeed.

“They’ve given us this mandate of course because they want us to do one thing, which you all know, they want us to get Brexit done.” Nearly half a century after Britain joined the EU, Johnson faces the challenge of striking new international trade deals, preserving London’s position as a top global financial capital and keeping the United Kingdom together.

In a political earthquake in England, the Conservatives won large numbers of seats in the opposition Labour Party’s so-called Red Wall, traditional working-class heartlands once hostile to Johnson’s party.

Brexit, which has shattered old party loyalties and divided Britain along new fault lines, was the cause of the shift. In the Red Wall, a majority of voters favoured leaving the European Union and rejected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s ambiguous stance on the issue.

In a symbol of the change, the Conservatives took Sedgefield, once held by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour’s most successful leader. U.S. President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Johnson. “Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT.

This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U.,” Trump wrote on Twitter “Celebrate Boris!”

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