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Nasarawa NMA chairman, 64 health workers test positive for coronavirus

A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected hundreds since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Nasarawa State, Dr Bulus Peter, has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Bulus confirmed his health status on Saturday.

He said he developed some symptoms of the disease as a result of his fieldwork activities of attending to COVID-19 patients at the isolation centre in Lafia, the state capital.

The NMA chairman, however, noted that he was already receiving treatment at an isolated part of his home and was responding to treatment.

“It is confirmed by the result from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that I have contracted COVID-19, but I am now responding to treatment,” he stated.

Dr Bulus added, “As at July 3, the total number of healthcare workers who tested positive for COVID-19 in Nasarawa are 65 – public health facilities workers 51 and private health workers 14.

“The local government distribution of healthcare workers infected with COVID-19 are Karu – 12, Keffi – 21, Nasarawa Eggon – seven, Lafia – 25. One person has died.”

The coalition of Nasarawa State Health Professional Associations had embarked on an indefinite industrial action on the June 18 after an initial seven days warning strike, due to the several demands they have made.

These included the non-implementation of promotion and annual increment for over 10 years, non-implementation of the New Minimum Wage Bill Act, non-implementation of the COVID-19 MoU on hazard allowance and life insurance for all health workers in the state, among other demands.

The health workers also demanded the payment of their entitlements, adding that the government has yet to give a definite timeframe or make any commitment to their demands.

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Ondo governor appoints new health commissioner

File Photo

Following the death of Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Wahab Adegbenro, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has appointed his Special Adviser on Health, Jibayo Adeyeye, as the state’s Acting Health Commissioner.

The governor also appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Adesegun Fatusi, as the new chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee Against COVID-19.

Both positions were occupied by the late Adegbenro.

The governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ojo Oyewamide, made this known in a statement on Saturday.

The late Adegbenro died on Thursday of coronavirus complications and was buried on Friday according to Islamic rites.

The statement read in part, “Following the unfortunate demise of the Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has appointed Professor Adesegun Fatusi new Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee Against COVID-19.

“Fatusi is the current Vice-Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo and he is expected to continue from where our late medical hero, Adegbenro stopped. His appointment is aimed at preventing a vacuum as the state experiences a disturbing spike of repeated cases of COVID-19.

“Governor Akeredolu also approved that the Special Adviser on Health, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, takes overseeing responsibilities of the Ministry of Health. ”

The new appointments took effect immediately.

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Ray Hushpuppi faces 20 years in US prison

The Dubai Police Force, United Arab Emirates, has revealed how it arrested Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abass, aka Hushpuppi.

The United States Department of Justice, Central District of California, Friday said Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, popularly known as Hushpuppi on Social Media, made a court appearance in Chicago Friday, and will be transferred to Los Angeles, where his trial for conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in cybercrime proceeds would begin in the coming weeks.

The USDOJ Central District of California issued the following statement: “A Dubai resident who flaunted his extravagant lifestyle on social media has arrived in the United States to face criminal charges alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, a.k.a. “Ray Hushpuppi” and “Hush,” a Nigerian national, arrived in Chicago Thursday evening after being expelled from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Abbas made his initial U.S. court appearance this morning in Chicago, and he is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

Abbas was arrested last month by UAE law enforcement officials. FBI special agents earlier this week obtained custody of Abbas and brought him to the United States to face a charge of conspiring to engage in money laundering that is alleged in a criminal complaint filed on June 25 by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles.

According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Abbas maintains social media accounts that frequently showed him in designer clothes, wearing expensive watches, and posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets. “The FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas finances this opulent lifestyle through crime, and that he is one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit describes BEC schemes as often involving a computer hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer.

“BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cybercrimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “This case targets a key player in a large, transnational conspiracy who was living an opulent lifestyle in another country while allegedly providing safe havens for stolen money around the world. As this case demonstrates, my office will continue to hold such criminals accountable, no matter where they live.”

“In 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7 billion in losses by companies and individuals victimized through business email compromise scams, the type of scheme Mr. Abbas is charged with conducting from abroad,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “While this arrest has effectively taken a major alleged BEC player offline, BEC scams represent the most financially costly type of scheme reported to the FBI. I urge anyone who transfers funds personally or on behalf of a company to educate themselves about BEC so they can identify this insidious scheme before losing sizable amounts of money.”

“This was a challenging case, one that spanned international boundaries, traditional financial systems and the digital sphere,” said Jesse Baker, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Los Angles Field Office. “Technology has essentially erased geographic boundaries leaving trans-national criminal syndicates to believe that they are beyond the reach of law enforcement. The success in this case was the direct result of our trusted partnerships between the Department of Justice and our federal law enforcement colleagues. These partnerships helped dismantle a sophisticated organized crime group who preyed upon unsuspecting businesses. It is thanks to these partnerships that the American people can feel a bit more secure today.”

The affidavit alleges that Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019. Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators.

The affidavit also alleges that Abbas conspired to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world. Abbas allegedly provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe that Abbas anticipated each would receive €5 million (about $5.6 million) of the fraudulently obtained funds.

Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

The FBI led the investigation of Abbas, and the United States Secret Service was also involved and provided substantial assistance. The FBI further thanks the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Police Department for their substantial assistance.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anil J. Antony and Joseph B. Woodring of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.”

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IGP orders redeployment of 10 AIGs, CPs

Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the posting and redeployment of some senior officers in the Force.

In a statement on Friday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said this followed the recent presidential approval for the re-organisation of the police.

He noted that this included the creation of an additional police department – the Directorate of Intelligence, the expansion of the zonal structure from 12 to 17, and the creation of two additional FCID annexes.

Mba revealed that AIG Adeleye Oyebade and AIG Ibrahim Lamorde have been redeployed to the Department of Research and Planning, and the Directorate of Intelligence, FHQ in Abuja respectively.

According to him, Oyebade was a Directing Staff at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos while Lamorde, who is a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was the AIG in charge of Force Intelligence.

Similarly, AIG Dan-Mallam Mohammed was redeployed to Zone 13 in Ukpo-Dunukofia, Awka (Anambra State), and AIG Rabiu Yusuf to Zone 14 in Katsina State.

AIG Lawal Ado was also redeployed to Zone 15, Maiduguri in Borno State while AIG Austine Agbonlahor and AIG David Folawiyo were posted to Zone 16, Yenagoa in Bayelsa State and Zone 17, Akure in Ondo State.

“In the same vein, CP Asuquo Amba, former Commissioner of Police, Ekiti Command takes charge as AIG of the new FCID Annex Gombe; CP Olafimihan Adeoye, former CP Federal-SARS takes charge as the AIG FCID Annex Enugu, while CP Uche Anozie, fsi, former CP Cross River takes charge as AIG FCID Annex Lagos,” the statement said.

​The IGP asked the affected senior officers to bring their wealth of experience to bear in their new places of assignment.

He also directed them to ensure that policing was brought closer to the people and work with relevant stakeholders to tackle crime and improve policing services across the country.

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FCCPC arraigns cosmetic surgeon for obstructing investigation

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission on Friday arraigned a Lagos-based cosmetic surgeon, Dr Anuoluwapo Adepoju, whose services allegedly resulted in the death of one Mrs Nneka Onwuzuligbo.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission on Friday arraigned a Lagos-based cosmetic surgeon, Dr Anuoluwapo Adepoju, whose services allegedly resulted in the death of one Mrs Nneka Onwuzuligbo.

Adepoju, alongside her hospital, Med Contour Services Limited, was arraigned for allegedly obstructing the investigation by the FCCPC into the case.

In the five counts pressed against her before Justice Mohammed Liman, the FCCPC accused the cosmetic surgeon of shunning summons by the agency to appear and produce certain documents.

In a six-paragraph affidavit of completion of investigation attached to the charge sheet, the commission said it received complaints against Adepoju from one Marlene Oluwakemi, Taiwo Temilade and Vivian Onwuzuligbo that the surgeon’s services “are unsafe for consumers,” and that she made “false, misleading and deceptive representation in relation to the marketing of their services.”

It said, “In particular, the above-mentioned Vivian Onwuzuligbo, a member of the Mrs Nnneka Miriam Barbara Onwuzuligbo (now deceased) alleged that the deceased died as a result of the failed defendants’ cosmetic surgery and she is privy to the events that led to the demise of the deceased.”

The prosecuting counsel for the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said the incidents happened between April 15 and May 4, 2020, at No. 11a Ladi Alakija Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

Irukera said Adepoju acted contrary to sections 33(3)(a) and 113(4)(a) of the FCCPC Act 2018 and was liable to be punished under sections 33(3) and 113(1) of the same Act, among others.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the five counts.

Justice Liman admitted her to bail on self-recognisance in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He adjourned till July 9 for the commencement of trial.

Earlier in the proceeding, the judge dismissed a preliminary objection by the defence lawyer, Marian Jones, challenging the validity of the charges and the court’s jurisdiction to entertain them.

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Rivaldo baffled by Antoine Griezmann problems

Barcelona are ready to sell Antoine Griezmann, less than one year after signing him from Atletico Madrid, according to Sport.

Barcelona great Rivaldo is baffled by Antoine Griezmann’s problems at the club.

Despite being purchased for 120 million euros last summer, Griezmann hasn’t had the best of seasons and his place in the team is now no longer guaranteed.

He was left on the bench on Tuesday against his former club Atletico Madrid and was brought on in the 90th minute, to the bemusement of many, including Rivaldo.

“If Setien wanted to change something, you can’t wait until the end of the game and want Griezmann to solve everything for you by entering the 90th minute,” Rivaldo told Betfair.

“I honestly cannot understand how a world champion with France, the star of Atletico for many years, a multi-million euro transfer Barcelona was reduced to playing a few minutes in a game as important as the one against Atleti.

“It is clear to me that the change shows that something is wrong with the team, because not starting with Griezmann in such an important game means that you think he is not at his best and even that he was not a correct signing last summer.

“For me, it’s concerning the situation Barcelona find themselves in and it could end up costing them the league.”

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Senator Sirika: I don’t control airfares

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, on Thursday, said he was not in a position to regulate airfares for airlines.

Sirika stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to brief senators on the level of the sector’s preparedness to begin flight operations on July 8.

He said, “Price is not in my hand but from what we put in place, I do not think that anything significant will happen to affect the propensity to fly.”

The minister, however, said necessary protocols have been put in place to ensure social distancing within the airport premises and inside the aircraft.

He said, “There is nothing like rush hour again. People have to stay safe before anything happens.

“So I’m sure that as civil aviation we are responsible to ensure that everybody remains safe. So there should be no fear, no panic.

“The industry is highly regulated, it is one aviation and I’m sure that you have seen from what we have been doing lately, we have been following the international convention and practices.

“So this will not be different. There is nothing to panic about, we will become physically distant when required.

“It is possible to maintain social distancing inside the aircraft bearing in mind that most of the flights are not always full.

“We are also working with the airlines to come up with the protocols before we open. That will be unveiled to you in due course.”

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Novak Djokovic, wife recover from coronavirus

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the Final match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS-Ahmed Jadallah-File Photo

Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena, who last week both tested positive for coronavirus following his exhibition tournament in the Balkans, have now tested negative, his press service said Thursday.

Neither the 33-year-old player nor his partner felt any symptoms, the statement said.

The couple had been self-isolating since returning to Belgrade from Zadar in Croatia, the town which hosted the second leg of Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour.

Four players — Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki — tested positive for the virus after the event which saw little social distancing and packed stands.

The world number one’s coach Goran Ivanisevic also contracted COVID-19.

Players had embraced across the net, played basketball and even danced in a nightclub during the week of the first leg played in Belgrade.

Djokovic was widely criticised for hosting the tournament.

The Serbian star issued an apology, saying he was “so deeply sorry” that the tournament “caused harm”.

On Wednesday, the player donated more than 40,000 euros ($45,000) to Serbian town Novi Pazar which has been badly affected by the pandemic.

Serbia, with a population of about seven million people, has registered nearly 15,000 coronavirus infections and 281 deaths.

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Mongolian premier re-elected after parliamentary election victory

Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, leader of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), was re-elected for a second four-year term as prime minister of Mongolia on Thursday.

Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, leader of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), was re-elected for a second four-year term as prime minister of Mongolia on Thursday.

Khurelsukh’s nomination was approved by a vote of over 98 percent in the country’s 76-seat unicameral parliament, or the State Great Khural.

According to Mongolia’s constitution, the prime minister is nominated by a majority party in the parliament.

The MPP won a landslide victory in last week’s parliamentary elections, taking 62 of 76 seats in the parliament.

Khurelsukh, 52, had previously been elected as a member of parliament three times — in 2000, 2004 and 2012. He was re-elected as legislator in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

He was deputy prime minister twice between 2014 and 2017, and became prime minister in October 2017.

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Nigerian stocks down by N1.14 trillion in first half

The logo of the Nigerian Stock Exchange is pictured in Lagos, Nigeria, file. REUTERS-Afolabi Sotunde

Nigerian stocks closed the first half down with average loss of 8.80 per cent, equivalent to net capital depreciation of N1.14 trillion as investors struggled with a threesome of domestic macroeconomic uncertainties, global decline in crude oil price and trade wars and the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Benchmark indices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which are generally regarded as sovereign equity indices for Nigeria, showed that Nigerian stocks swiveled through steep decline in first quarter and a major recovery in early months of the second quarter, closing the six-month period with net loss of N1.14 trillion.

The All Share Index (ASI), a common value-based index that tracks all share prices at the Exchange, closed first half at 24,479.22 points as against 26,842.07 points recorded as opening index for the year.

The index had posted a double-digit negative return of 20.7 per cent in the first quarter, driven by a steep decline of 18.75 per cent in March. The six-month performance, though still negative, was moderated by the two-month successive rally in April and May, which saw equities recording a two-month average return of 19 per cent. The market relapsed in June with average decline of 3.12 per cent, a loss of about N410.8 billion.

With net loss of about N2.68 trillion in first quarter 2020, the half-year return, though negative, indicated considerable recovery within the second quarter. Nigerian equities recorded positive average return of 14.12 per cent in the second quarter, equivalent to net capital gains of N1.656 trillion for the three-month period. The ASI had closed March 2020 at 21,300.47 points.

“The markets may remain volatile in the near term. We advise investors to accumulate quality stocks at lower levels with a long term investment horizon,” FSDH Group, a major investment banking group, stated in its outlook.

Data provided by SCM Capital, an investment banking firm, indicated that average loss for foreign portfolio investors, who denominate in Dollars, could more than doubled average decline in Naira terms. Aggregate market value of quoted equities, which showed unadjusted decline of 1.46 per cent in Naira terms, declined by 16.20 per cent in Dollar terms.

At the official Investors and Exporters Foreign Exchange Window (I&E FX), Naira dropped by 0.13 per cent to N386.50/$ as foreign exchange liquidity remained tight with demand for dollars outweighing supply.

Chief Operating Officer, GTI Capital, Mr. Kehinde Hassan, said the stock market was impacted by the global market variables and domestic foreign exchange management, which negatively influenced foreign portfolio participation in the market.

The Nation had exclusively reported that foreign portfolio investments (FPIs) in the Nigerian market dropped to a 29-month low in May 2020, the latest available figure. Total FPIs dropped to N35.24 billion in May 2020, its lowest month-on-month record in the past 29 months.

Chairman, Association for Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Chief Onyenwechukwu Ezeagu, said FPI decline was due to a myriad of factors including uncertainty about the full impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy, Naira depreciation, limited availability of foreign exchange, inconsistencies in monetary and fiscal policies and global oil glut.

President, Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar, said the outlook for the second half at the Nigerian stock market would be mixed with the impact of COVID-19 weighing more heavily in the third quarter and a recovery in the fourth quarter.

“The third quarter will not be very positive as the effect of COVID-19 will be strongly felt. We may likely see more layoffs and closure of some businesses.

“If the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) opens fully the foreign exchange window, most foreign investors may likely dump the capital market, and perhaps this may impact negatively on the market.

“The extension of the lockdown by four weeks and the uncertainty on domestic and international flights may not help matters. In addition, the political climate and the challenges of security are some of the factors that may affect the third quarter performance. But I believe the fourth quarter may be positive if COVID-19 does not persist,” Umar said.

Aggregate market capitalisation of all quoted equities at the NSE closed yesterday at N12.770 trillion as against N12.958 trillion recorded as opening value for the year.

The difference between the market value percentage difference and ASI was due mainly to additional listing of shares.

ASI, a weighted value-based index, is usually adjusted for new listings while additional shares are directly credited to market value without any adjustment.

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