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South Africa grants Air Peace rights to operate daily flights

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that the South African government had granted Air Peace’s request to commence commercial flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mr Ferdinard Nwoye, spokesperson for the ministry made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the South African Government has granted request for the Nigerian Designated Airline, Air Peace to commence commercial flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The confirmation was granted in the process of ascertaining the level of implementation of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and South Africa.

“At the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the 9th Session of the Nigeria/South Africa Bi-National Commission Summit in Pretoria, South Africa on Friday, Sept. 27.

“The proprietor of Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema has also confirmed that the airline would commence operation as soon as possible to promote air travel between Nigeria and South Africa,” Nwonye said.

Newsmen report the bi-national meeting focused on consolidation of the subsisting signed Agreements/MoUs between both countries

The Nigeria-South Africa Joint Commission was established in 1999 to promote relations between both countries and it was upgraded to Bi-National Commission (BNC) in 2001.

To showcase the strategic nature of the relationship between the two very important countries, the commission is expected to be further upgraded to the Summit level on Oct. 3.

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VP Osinbajo, Governor Ortom meet over Benue-Ebonyi land crisis

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday met behind closed doors with Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and Ebonyi State Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe, over the land crisis between the two states.

The meeting was attended by the Acting Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Adaji Adamu.

Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Ortom said “We came at the instance of the vice president to discuss the lingering problem between Benue and Ebonyi states in particular between Agila in Benue and Ngbo in Ebonyi.

“We are also here with the acting DG, National boundary commission and we had taken far-reaching decisions to ensure that we demarcate the boundary between these two states so that we can hold our people responsible.

“As it is now its difficult to identify the criminal elements who are creating tension and creating more of these problems.

“So I believe that very soon the boundary commission would be coming out with a program that both Benue and Ebonyi will team up together to provide the necessary logistics and security to ensure that the boundary is demarcated.

“Well, it’s a border crisis because we are talking about two states. We should know the limits of each states. It’s a border problem more like communal problem.” he said

On TIV/Jukun crisis, he said, “Well, I know that there is a spillover. This is largely TIV and Jukum in Taraba. I have Jukun in Benue state. We are not fighting. There were issues in the past and I decided to set up a judicial commission of enquiry which is still sitting to look at the remote and immediate causes of this strife so that we will find a lasting solution to it.

“This other one is more of a problem in Taraba but because there are TIV people in Benue and we are talking about TIV people so each time people are displaying some run back to Benue so that’s the spirit of it.

“But I think that the governor of Taraba state is doing well. Recently they met and they agreed that there should be ceasefire even though I saw in the press that there were some issues with that peace agreement but you know each time there are efforts to try to solve problems, criminal elements will come in and I think that the steps that the governor took by inviting two sides, both the TIV and the Jukum to sit together and find means of how they can resolve this matter is the best approach.

“And I believe that once that problem is sorted out in Taraba state, we will not have anything in Benue state.” he said

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Why Delta government’s audited account was uploaded online – commissioner

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Saturday, commiserated with the Okonjo family and Ogwashi-Uku community on the death of the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, Prof. Chukuka Okonjo.

The Delta State Ministry of Finance has explained the uploading of the state government’s 2018 audited account on the website, saying it was for easy access by members of the public.

Fidelis Tilije, the state Commissioner for Finance, in a chat with newsmen, said the ministry submitted the 2018 audited report of the state account to the state House of Assembly in accordance with the provision of the Nigerian Constitution and has uploaded it into the Delta State Government official website, for the members of the public to assess it.

The Ministry of Finance advised members of the public to visit the state government website to assess the audited account.

Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has commissioned a comprehensive school infrastructural audit and mapping of all public primary and post primary schools in the state.

Patrick Ukah, the state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, in a statement in Asaba over the weekend said the exercise has become imperative for government to take another and deeper critical overview of its infrastructural inputs.

This, he said, is with a view to identifying shortfalls and possible gaps which would redirect its focus to untouched areas of infrastructural needs by the schools during the current tenure of this administration.

Ukah lauded the approval considering the fact that it will throw up a number of issues and challenges of the system that may need to be tackled by the state government.

The commissioner stated that the perceived gap was not due to inaction on the part of government but that the large number of public schools and the long years of abandonment contrary to information peddled on social media.

He added that government in its commitment to promoting educational standards in the state, has extended the intervention beyond infrastructural developments with the recruitment of one thousand teachers recently.

He said that given the large number of public schools in the state and the various other competing demands in the social sector of the economy, no one would rightly expect that all schools would be attended to simultaneously by government, adding that intervention programmes are executed in phases until the entire the state is covered.

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COCIN president advises Christians to participate in active politics

Rev. Dacholom Datiri, the President of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), has advised Christians to participate actively in politics to effect change in the society. .

Rev. Dacholom Datiri, the President of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), has advised Christians to participate actively in politics to effect change in the society. .

Datiri gave the advice in a sermon entitled, “Christians Must Participate in Politics”, on Sunday in Jos.

According to him, God desires that Christians take up leadership positions in government to ensure sanity in the society.

He said many things had gone wrong in the country, a situation that led to Nigeria’s current difficulties.

He said good Christians could change things for the better if given the opportunity to serve.

“We must participate in politics to bring sanity in the system and ensure things are done the right way.

“If we participate in politics, we will provide restraining influence that will place our nation on the path of growth and development.

“In another four years there will be general elections, we must actively participate to return this country to the old good days,” he said.

The COCIN president, however, warned against dirty politics and urged Christians to be clean and highly principled in politics

He advised that they must be prayerful and never abandon the Church when they got into positions of authority.

“As much as God wants us to participate in politics, we must do it clean.

“We must live a highly principled life and cultivate an intimate devotional life with God; that is what will keep us clean.

“We must also create time to pray and seek God’s direction all of the time,” he advised.

The president attributed the current challenges in the country to the failure of leadership and added that Christians could fix Nigeria.

According to him, the nation is blessed with abundant human and natural resources but poor leadership has made it difficult to harness them.

He said the killings, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and other vices in the country had brought retrogression.

“Nigeria no doubt is endowed in many ways; we are blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The best brains in the world today are from Nigeria. Our land is very fertile for agricultural activities.’’

He decried the lack of respect for life, saying: “that is why we kill each other everyday. The rate of armed robbery, kidnapping and banditry is alarming

“Today our people can’t sleep with their eyes closed; we all live in anxiety.”

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SERAP urges President Buhari to implement report on financial autonomy for judiciary

President Muhammadu Buhari in his goodwill message to the Esogban by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, joined members of Edebiri family, friends and well-wishes in celebrating an important and respected son of Bini Kingdom’s rich culture and heritage.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to use his good offices and leadership position to “urgently publish and fully implement the recommendations of the report on financial autonomy of state legislature and judiciary submitted to you in June 2019.”

SERAP said: “In the context of a growing attack on the country’s judiciary by the authorities and politicians, the full implementation of the report will contribute to improving judicial independence, and respect for constitutional principles of separation of powers and systems of checks and balances designed to prevent political interference and ensure respect for the rule of law.”

In the letter dated 27 September 2019, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Equal treatment before the law is a pillar of democratic societies. But when judicial financial autonomy and by extension, independence and sanctity is undermined, the scales of justice are tipped, and ordinary Nigerians suffer. In fact, when judicial autonomy and independence is under siege, everyone loses, as the voice of the innocent goes unheard, while the guilty continue to act with impunity.”

The letter read in part: “The failure to publish the full recommendations of the report and to begin to implement them has continued to undermine the country’s judicial systems, and deny citizens’ access to justice and basic human right to a fair and impartial justice system.”

“Ensuring the financial autonomy and independence of the courts would improve the ability of our judicial systems to deliver justice effectively and efficiently. It would also allow the court to jealously guard the rights of innocent men and women, and ensure that the guilty receive a fair and impartial hearing, as well as remove the dangerous possibility of summary justice.”

“We urge you to ensure full respect for the rule of law and due process in words and actions.”

“A financially autonomous judiciary is crucial for the effectiveness and success of your anti-corruption agenda, and important for the realization of citizens’ human rights. Unless the report is fully implemented, trust in the court’s impartiality and independence will continue to be eroded, and the core judicial functions, access to justice, and the broader accountability function of the judiciary, will continue to be undermined.”

“A weak judiciary would mean that impunity for corrupt officials will remain, as the ability of your government and anti-corruption agencies to prosecute grand corruption, as well as public trust and confidence in institutions of government and public officials, will continue to be undermined.”

“SERAP is extremely concerned about the growing attack on the independence of the judiciary and the sanctity of our justice system, particularly the repeated failures by your government, state governments and politicians to respect and comply with court decisions and orders.”

“SERAP notes that you received in June 2019 the Report of the Abubakar Malami-led Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary. The committee, inaugurated by you on March 22, 2019 was tasked to fashion out strategies and modalities for implementation of the financial autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary, in compliance with Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

“When you received the report, you stated that, ‘I went through a terrible time getting here for the three times I contested elections. That is why I want to stabilise the system so that others will not pass through the same experience.’”

“This worrying situation threatens to undermine the judiciary’s fragile independence, and the sacred constitutional principles of separation of powers and systems of checks and balances.”

“Continuing refusal to respect and obey court decisions and orders if not urgently stopped will lead to increased corruption and impunity. Disobedience of court orders is an implicit interference in the judicial system, and shows a flagrant disregard for Nigeria’s Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and international obligations. Persistent disobedience of court orders and decisions threatens any gains in the fight against corruption that your government may have recorded.”

“SERAP is concerned about the growing list of court orders and decisions that have been flagrantly disobeyed by your government, the most recent being the order by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, Federal High Court, Abuja granting bail to the Publisher of SaharaReporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, and the reported attempts by your government to drag Justice Taiwo before National Judicial Council (NJC) on account of his decision to grant bail to Mr Sowore.”

“Other high-profile judgments your government is refusing to obey include at least three judgments obtained by SERAP. The first is the judgment by Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari ordering the government to tell Nigerians about the stolen asset it allegedly recovered, with details of the amounts recovered. The second judgment, by Justice Mohammed Idris, ordered the government to publish details on the spending of stolen funds recovered by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999.”

“The third judgment, Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor, a Professor of Law, ordered the government to publish details of payments to all defaulting and allegedly corrupt electricity contractors and companies by the governments of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and your government.”

“Another court order that is yet to be complied with is the order for the release of Islamic Movement of Nigeria leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, from unlawful detention, obtained by human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.”

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Barcelona confirm fresh muscular injury for Ousmane Dembélé

Liverpool are set to shatter their transfer record to sign Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona, according to the Sun.

No sooner had Ousmane Dembélé returned to the Barcelona first team picture and he has been sidelined again.

The Frenchman has played in just two LaLiga fixtures this season, one of many attackers at the club to have been plagued by injury.

But he appeared to be in line for his comeback after being included in the matchday squad for Saturday afternoon’s trip to Getafe.

Barcelona won 2-0 but did so without Dembélé and the club have now confirmed that he has sustained yet another thigh injury.

Tests on the player on Saturday night confirmed an issue with his left thigh and the club did not offer a timetable for his return.

The 22-year-old seems all but certain to miss the Blaugrana’s midweek Champions League clash with Inter.

Although he joined Barça just two years ago from Borussia Dortmund, it is already the seventh different injury since that move.

Six of those have been muscle-related for the frustrating France international, who faces a familiar spell on the sidelines.

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Cristiano Ronaldo seals Juventus win to keep pressure on Inter Milan


Cristiano Ronaldo helped Juventus to continue their unbeaten start to the Serie A season with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over struggling SPAL on Saturday.

Miralem Pjanic’s strike put the hosts in front on the stroke of half-time before Ronaldo headed his third goal of the campaign with 12 minutes remaining.

Juve lead the table on 16 points but Inter Milan can return to the summit when they travel to Sampdoria later on Saturday.

SPAL goalkeeper Etrit Berisha made a string of impressive saves to keep the score down as the visitors fell to their fifth defeat in six matches.

They stay level on three points with Sampdoria at the foot of the table.

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Bayelsa speaker resigns as new leader emerges Monday

The Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Tonye Isenah, may have resigned from his position going by unfolding developments towards the November governorship election in the state.

Isenah (Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency 1) who was elected Speaker of the Sixth Assembly in June finally bowed to pressures mounted by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to resign for a new Speaker to emerge from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

According to investigations, Hon Isenah from Bayelsa Central Senatorial had been made Speaker with the understanding that he would step down from the position if the party picks a governorship candidate from Bayelsa Central and the candidate goes ahead to win the November 16 governorship election.

However the decision by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to give its governorship ticket to Chief David Lyon from Olugbobiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and the anger of the people in the area following the inability of PDP governorship aspirants from there to clinch the PDP governorship ticket with fears that the people would queue behind Lyon, forced the PDP leadership to request Isenah to vacate office so that the incumbent leader of the House, Hon Monday Bubou Obolo (Southern Ijaw Constituency 2) could be elected Speaker to placate the people of the area.

Since the request to resign was made known to Isenah over a week ago, he had resisted the pressure to step down arguing that doing so before February 2020 would not guarantee victory for the party in the governorship election.

However it was gathered that unable to bear the pressure especially with prominent leaders from the state appealing to him, Isenah informed his colleagues on Friday that he would resign to allow Obolo become Speaker in the interest of the party.

Investigations revealed that barring any last minute change of plan, Obolo would emerge Speaker on Monday September 30 with Isenah believed to have presided over the last plenary session on Friday.

Isenah was said to have dropped the hint of his resignation during what could be termed as a valedictory meeting with staff of the House of Assembly shortly after the plenary session.

“Yes, the Speaker met with workers of the Assembly and addressed them on his stewardship for the past three months. He told them that by Monday he would no longer be Speaker and enjoined the workers to cooperate with the new leadership. He asked for forgiveness from whoever he might have offended in the course of his duty as the Speaker of the Assembly” said a source at the meeting.

Members of the House that witnessed the Speaker’s briefing were Hon. Felix Bonny Ayah, representing Southern Ijaw Constituency-1, and Hon. Moses Marlon, representing Southern Ijaw Constituency-3.

Investigations revealed that aside the Speakership position and that of the Director-General of the PDP Governorship campaign already given to Dr Nimbofa Ayawei also from Southern Ijaw, other appointments would still be given to politicians from Southern Ijaw to shore up the support base of the party in the area.

Governor Henry Seriake Dickson had on Thursday in a minor cabinet reshuffle swapped Hon. Ebipatei Apaingolo, Commissioner for Environment and his counterpart Udengs Eradiri Commissioner for Youth Development.

Apaingolo, an indigene of Koluama Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government was posted to Ministry of Youth Development to enable him have more access to youths for effective mobilization for PDP governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri.

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Tacha disqualified from BBNaija Pepper Dem

Sequel to breaking one of the house rules regarding violence on Friday, 27 September, Tacha, a Big Brother Naija housemate was tonight disqualified from the show, while Mercy, a fellow housemate on whom the violence was perpetrated, received a double strike for provocation.

During their altercation earlier in the day, Big Brother had invited both housemates to the Diary Room, where he cautioned them.

However in spite of his caution, the duo continued to exhibit violent behavior, with Tacha acting out violently against Mercy, while Mercy visibly restrained herself and was also prevented from being physically violent.

MultiChoice and the show producers, are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all housemates in the Big Brother house at all times. We view incidents such as occurred with Tacha and Mercy in a very serious light and will continue to take necessary action against housemates who break the strict rules of Big Brother.

Tacha becomes the first housemate to be disqualified from the Big Brother Naija Pepper Dem House.

BBNaija season four is sponsored by Bet9ja. This year’s edition will run into October 9th when a winner will be announced.