SABINEWS MORNING NEWS UPDATE – MARCH 21, 2019
APC hits Atiku, PDP over electoral victory claim
The All Progressives Congress (APC) lashed out yesterday at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, over his claim that he won the poll by about 1.6 million votes. It said Atiku’s claim indicated that he may have slipped into “post-election depression and hallucination”. APC’s National Publicity Secretary Lanre Issa-Onilu said in a statement in Abuja that Atiku’s reference to INEC’s server raised several questions that tend to confirm reports before the election that the opposition party planned to hack into the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) database.
Obasanjo denies being paid by NOUN as lecturer
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday denied a media report that he earns N40,000 as a lecturer at the National Open University, NOUN, saying he was rendering the service pro-bono. Obasanjo gave the clarification in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi. The former President, described the media report (Not Vanguard), as embarrassing, uncharitable, mischievous and in bad taste. He however, called for immediate retraction and apology from the Office of the Vice Chancellor. The statement read: “My attention was drawn to a newspaper report, published specifically on Page 8 of a national newspaper of Wednesday, March 20, 2019 with the headline “Obasanjo earns N40,000 as NOUN lecturer — VC.”
Run-offs: Abdulsalami panel meets parties, INEC as police tighten security
The police have beefed up security in Sokoto, Kano, Benue and Plateau states ahead of the supplementary polls scheduled for Saturday. Also, the National Peace Committee led by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, met with party leaders in Benue and Bauchi states on Wednesday with an appeal to them to give peace a chance and accept the outcome of the run-offs. Supplementary elections had been fixed for March 23 in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states where the Independent National Electoral Commission had declared the governorship elections held on February 9 inconclusive.
Buhari’s victory good for Nigeria, says Attah
EX-Akwa Ibom State Governor Victor Attah has described the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the election as the triumph of the will of the people, and a death knell for the three power blocs that have exerted their manipulative influence on the country. This, he added, would provide the opportunity for the President to set the stage for restructuring. Obong Attah, who spoke at a news conference in Lagos yesterday, said Buhari’s second term would bring to an end the influence of the two major parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as well as that of retired military officers that had been directing the political game from behind the scenes.
Anambra’s ex-CJ joins APGA, 1 week after retirement
Justice Peter Umeadi, who retired about a week ago as the Chief Judge of Anambra State, has joined politics. Umeadi, on Wednesday, declared his decision to join the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance in the state. He said he took the decision in order to support the state Governor, Willie Obiano, in his task of governing the state. He said, “If you are on retirement and go to sleep, your brain will sleep with you. “It is desirable that if you are on retirement, you find something doing so that your life will be prolonged through the service you render to people.
Rowdy session as Senate condemns militarisation of 2019 polls
The Senate amidst a rowdy session on Wednesday condemned the alleged use of the military in the conduct of the 2019 elections. This followed a motion by the People’s Democratic Party member representing Kogi West in the chamber, Senator Dino Melaye, who chronicled infractions allegedly perpetrated by the military during the elections. The red chamber also directed the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission to investigate all the perceived inconsistent application of electoral laws by the commission in the 2019 polls. It also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the recent amendment to the Electoral Act to guarantee free and fair polls in the country.
Lagos “ponzi” firm shut
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sealed up the premises of an Ikeja, Lagos-based firm, Growing Circle International (G-Circle) for allegedly engaging in ponzi scheme. In a circular, SEC stated that it conducted surveillance on the activities of G-Circle after it received complaint from a member of the public. According to the Commission, investigation revealed that G-Circle was operating a pyramid scheme and soliciting funds from unsuspecting members of the public through various means including its website www.growingscircle.com.
AMCON seeks failed Bank Act’s return
The rise in bad loans has pushed the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to seek return of the Failed bank Act. AMCON Managing Director/CEO, Ahmed Kuru yesterday in Lagos, called on the authorities to revisit the Failed Bank Act to ensure that bank officials account for their actions. He said the reintroduction of the Failed Bank Act into the country’s financial system will not only curtail the current trend of financial rascality on the part of some bankers, but would bring discipline to the banking industry in general. He urged banks to strengthen their risk management framework to stem the rise in bad loans.
FIRS denies report on VAT increase
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) yesterday denied reports that the Service was advocating a 50% increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) . A statement issued by the service said “Tunde Fowler, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) on Tuesday called for an increase in the number of Nigerians and companies paying VAT and not a 50 per cent increase in VAT rate.” The statement went on to add that “contrary to reports in the media, the FIRS Executive Chairman called for a reduction in Companies Income Tax (CIT) rate for small businesses so as to improve compliance.”
Oil reaches $68 on falling supplies
Oil prices rallied ysterday after data showed falling stockpiles of crude as refined fuels also plunged last week. International Brent crude oil futures were up 74 cents, or 1.2 per cent, at $68.35 a barrel hitting a new high going back to Nov. 13. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $1, or 1.7 per cent, to $60.03 per barrel, after its highest level since Nov. 12. The more heavily traded WTI contract for May delivery also rose above $60 a barrel yesterday. WTI has rallied 32 per cent this year after losing nearly half of its value in the final months of 2018. Brent is also up more than 27 per cent year to date, boosted by production cuts from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and United States (U.S.) sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
Policemen, drivers clash in Lagos, 1 killed, 10 buses vandalized
One person was shot dead and many injured in Lagos on Wednesday as commercial drivers and policemen attached to the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit clashed in the Mile 12 area. When our correspondents visited the area, it was observed that about 10 vehicles were vandalised with broken pieces of glass scattered all over the area. It was gathered that the clash, which began around 10am, was as a result of the resistance by some drivers to arrest by the task force personnel. An eyewitness, Ms Bejide Lawal, said the people who were involved in the incident were drivers, noting that the police wanted to arrest them but they resisted. Lawal explained that when the police were unable to arrest the drivers as they began pelting the personnel with missiles, the police started firing live bullets and tear gas canisters at the crowd. She stated that the police were eventually able to arrest some of the drivers.
Libya puts Nigeria’s Olympic Eagles on the edge with 2-0 defeat
Nigeria’s quest to remain supremo at the Under-23 football level in Africa suffered a major set-back Wednesday as Libya inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the cup holders in the first leg of the qualifying match for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Before a fairly large crowd at the Stade de Ben Guerdane in Tunisia, the North African nation took the lead after just seven minutes into the match when striker Zakaria Alharaish scored from a close range. According to reports, things got worse for Nigeria after goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar was dismissed in the closing stages of the first half for handling the ball outside the goal area, Nigeria’s defence showed some nervy and uninspiring displays in closing down their superior opponents in that half.
2020 Olympics: 11 Nigerian Athletes get IOC Scholarship
Eleven Nigerian athletes have been selected for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) scholarship scheme ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The list of athletes to enjoy the IOC grant is headlined by fast-rising 100m hurdler and reigning Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Oluwatobiloba Ayomide Amusan and Portugal-based table tennis star, Aruna Quadri. The deal brokered by the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) also includes; Commonwealth Games wrestling champion in the 53kg category, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Oborodudu (Wrestling) and Nathaniel Glory Onome (Athletics), Nathaniel Samson (Athletics).
Egypt’s top Goalkeeper withdraws from friendly with Nigeria
After the withdrawal of Mohamed Salah from the Pharaohs squad to take on the Super Eagles in an international friendly in Asaba next week Tuesday, Entag El-Harby’s goalkeeper, Amer Amer has also withdrawn from the game due to injury. Amer was a late call up by coach Javier Aguire to the Pharaohs who have qualified for the AFCON 2019 they are hosting in June. The clash with the Super Eagles is more of a warm up game after weekend’s dead-rubber AFCON qualifier away trip to Niger. The 32 year-old goalkeeper suffered the knock during a training session at the Borg El-Arab Stadium yesterday with 18 players in attendance.
Ryan Giggs explains decision to rest Gareth Bale in rare Wales game at Wrexham
Ryan Giggs explained he had no choice but to disappoint Wales fans by leaving Gareth Bale out of the side that beat Trinidad & Tobago at Wrexham. Wales had not played at the Racecourse Ground since 2008 and much had been made of the national team’s return to the north for the first time for 11 years. But Real Madrid striker Bale was among those missing as manager Giggs fielded a shadow side just four days before Wales’ opening European Championship qualifier against Slovakia in Cardiff.
Wall Street Journal to join Apple’s news subscription service, but NYT and Washington Post not participating
The Wall Street Journal plans to join Apple’s subscription news service that’s set to be announced Monday, reports The New York Times. Other publications like the Washington Post and The New York Times itself are not on board, however, due to the revenue split Apple has requested. Apple and The Wall Street Journal plan to announce the partnership at Apple’s planned media event on March 25. Apple’s subscription service for Apple News will provide readers with access to news articles and magazines from “hundreds” of participating publishers for one monthly fee, thought to be $9.99 per month.
Nearly every democratic candidate would face tight race against Donald Trump, early 2020 poll indicates
While President Donald Trump has spent a fair bit of his tenure with approval ratings below 50 percent, a poll out this week indicates that most of the 2020 potential Democratic candidates would face a tight race against the president. An Emerson College survey of U.S. registered voters found that of the top potential 2020 Democratic challengers who might face Trump, only former Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to announce he is running, holds a relatively wide lead on Trump, at 55 percent to Trump’s 45 percent. The leads of the other candidates fall within the margin of error. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both have leads of 51 percent to Trump’s 49 percent, and Senator Kamala Harris leads 52 percent to Trump’s 48 percent. Former Representative Beto O’Rourke, who just entered the race, trails Trump at 49 percent to Trump’s 51 percent.
Google fined £1.27bn for illegal advertising practices
Tech giant Google has been issued with a £1.27bn fine by the European Commission for alleged illegal practices in search advertising. Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for competition said in Brussels on Wednesday morning, the tech company have been accused of breaching EU antitrust laws from 2006 until 2016. Vestager wrote on Twitter, “The third @Google case: @Google is fined €1,49bn for illegal practices in search advertising brokering to cement its dominant market position. “They shouldn’t do that, it denied consumers choice, innovative products and fair prices.”