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Several dead as freight ship sinks off Turkey’s Black Sea coast

A Palau-flagged freight ship has sunk off the coast of Turkey’s Black Sea province of Bartin, killing at least three crew members, according to Bartin Governor Sinan Guner.

A Palau-flagged freight ship has sunk off the coast of Turkey’s Black Sea province of Bartin, killing at least three crew members, according to Bartin Governor Sinan Guner.

Guner had said earlier on Sunday that the ship, the Arvin, was a Russian dry freight vessel that sank off the coast of the Inkumu region in poor weather, but later corrected that.

“The Arvin ship attempted to take refuge at the Bartin port due to poor weather conditions as it carried cargo from Georgia to Bulgaria,” Guner was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

The coastguard said the ship had sunk after taking in water amid poor weather.

Six crew members had been rescued and efforts were under way to rescue others, it said in a statement. Anadolu said that all of them were hospitalised and were in good condition.

The Russian state agency overseeing sea and river fleets said that only two crew members were Russian nationals and that the vessel belonged to the Ukrainian company, Arvin Shipping Ltd.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed the incident, saying Ukrainian consuls were providing consular assistance on site as operations to find four remaining sailors continued.

Guner said earlier that civilian ships had also been asked to help with the rescue effort, but that operations were hindered by heavy rain and winds. The Turkish defence ministry said it had also sent a vessel to help with the rescue operations.

“There are high waves, and because of the waves the (rescue) boat can’t see its surroundings. We are trying to reach them with directions from the shore,” Guner was cited as saying.

In January 2019, six crew members died when a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship sank in the Black Sea off Turkey.

Two years earlier, a Russian spy vessel sank in the Black Sea after colliding with a cargo ship carrying cattle. All crew were rescued.

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Dangote completes Nigeria’s longest concrete road

Makamba Online

The Dangote Group has completed Nigeria’s longest rigid pavement located in Kogi State.

It is the first of its kind, top engineers say.

The 43KM Obajana-Kabba road constructed by Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has been described by motorists as the country’s most strategic highway that is aiding travellers between the North and the South.

Olatunbosun Kalejaiye, the Project Director, said he was excited that the Corporate Social Responsibility Project is being delivered for use by Nigerians, adding that while the rigid pavement has been completed, the company was dressing the shoulders.

Site Engineer Samuel Obosi assured that the dual carriage way will be durable and less susceptible to potholes and repairs like asphalt road, adding that it would crash the rate of road accident in the country.

Motorists said it is now one of the busiest roads linking the two regions in the country.

“Thank God it is a concrete road. It can withstand any heavy duty vehicle,” Lamidi Sikiru, a driver expressed optimism.

John Moses, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, said his taxi business is booming compared to when the road was very deplorable with potholes and barely used by motorists.

A community leader of Apa Bunu Kingdom and spokesperson for the community, Sam Omosayil, commended the Dangote Group, saying that the road has attracted a lot of businesses along the road.

Traditional and community leaders eulogised the President of the Dangote Group.

The Bajana of Obajana Land, Idowu Senibi, described the project as gigantic and the first of its kind anywhere in Nigeria.

“Dangote is our son. We would protect his huge investment and gigantic concrete road. I am happy that this is happening in my lifetime and in my Kingdom. This is a great opportunity for us and many generations to come. Our society will be opened as you can see vehicles and commercial activities have started coming up. May God Almighty bless Dangote and all his staff.”

Speaking in the same vein, the traditional head of Akpata Land, Frederick Balogun, said his people were very proud of Aliko Dangote, adding that the Dangote Cement, Obajana plant, which is the single largest cement plant in the world, has brought honour and respect to their Kingdoms.

“His presence has brought a total turnaround in our lives. Also permit me to appreciate the Federal Government for this joint effort. We are very grateful,” he said.

Speaking, the King of Okebunku Land in Kabba Bunu Local Government, Timothy Omonile, commended the President of the Dangote Group and charged other philanthropists to emulate him, adding that that is the only way Nigeria can develop its economy and infrastructure.

He said the construction of the road has helped cut down the rate of criminality in the state, while describing the Group President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, as God sent.

Rechel Olatunji, a businesswoman said she makes more money now and that business is booming because of the road.

Another businesswoman, Veronica Samuel, prayed fervently for the Dangote Group, adding that the new road has changed her life, and enabled her to sponsor her children to school.

Worried by the huge sum of money used in road repairs, President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote had said plans were afoot to revolutionize Nigerian roads with concrete, stressing that resources used in road repairs and maintenance would be channeled to other more important needs of the nation.

“We are going to be building concrete roads in the country so that anytime we build a road, we do not have to go back to repair after the third raining season, but move on and use the resources to address other pressing needs of Nigeria,” Mr Dangote had said.

It would be recalled that as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS), the Dangote Group had earlier commissioned the 26 km Itori-Ibese Concrete Road.

At the commissioning, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had noted that the stride by the Dangote Group demonstrated the unwavering commitments of an indigenous investor towards the industrialization of Nigeria.

A statement from the Corporate Communications Department of the Dangote Group said: “Concrete road last longer than asphalt roads and do not have potholes. It does not require frequent maintenance as asphalt roads. It saves fuel for motorists and protects tyres from wear and tears.”

The statement said it is part of the Group’s determination to support government and Nigerians in order to grow the economy and facilitate ease of doing business.

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Nigerian Navy intercept 100,000 litres of diesel, arrest 24 ‘oil bunkerers’

Sundiata Post

The Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Nigerian Navy in Igbokoda, Ondo State, says it has intercepted six boats loaded with over 100,000 litres of diesel along the Ondo-Lagos coastal axis.

The patrol team of the Naval base also reportedly arrested 24 suspects in connection with the intercepted products.

Parading the suspects and the intercepted boats before reporters, Base Commanding Officer Shaibu Mohammed Ahmed said six boats carrying illegally refined crude oil owned by bunkerers were apprehended.

He said one of the boats contained 150 drums of 250 litres of refined Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel).

According to him, another wooden boat containing 16 tanks of 4,500 litres of diesel was also intercepted, adding that other boats seized by his men contain empty drums.

‘In order to effectively curb illegal oil bunkering, sea piracy, kidnapping and other criminal activities in Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas of Ondo State, the Forward Operating Base of the Nigerian Navy in Igbokoda instituted continuous surveillance on the creeks and coastal areas,’ he said.

‘This effort yielded a positive result, with the latest operation carried out along the Ondo-Lagos coastal axis.

‘Some of the suspects said their boats were hired by the bunkerers, while some admitted their involvement in the illegal business,’ he added.

The Commanding Officer sought meaningful information that could lead to curbing all forms of economic sabotage in the area.

He added that the operation base will continue to work in line with its mandate of ensuring a secured maritime environment.

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PDP: Presidency’s ‘wait on God’ remark on insecurity admission of President Buhari’s failure

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has observed that the dismissive statement by the Presidency that Nigerians should ‘wait on God’ for solutions to the insecurity in the country is a direct admission of failure by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has observed that the dismissive statement by the Presidency that Nigerians should ‘wait on God’ for solutions to the insecurity in the country is a direct admission of failure by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Making this assertion in a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, in Abuja on Saturday, the party noted that the remark has “shown clearly that the Buhari administration is completely helpless and has come to its wits end in governance; a development, which validates the position of majority of Nigerians that President Buhari is grossly incompetent and should step aside.”

The PDP maintained that the presidency’s statement further goes to confirm that the Buhari’s administration has “outlived its usefulness, if it had any, and that the promises and assurances made by President Buhari, on the fight against insecurity amount to mere lip service,” the PDP further declared.

“While we believe in the powers and interventions of God, our party restates that such comes with the commitment, determination and show of responsibility on the part of those in leadership position; an obligation in which the Buhari Presidency has completely failed,” the PDP added.

The main opposition party said it finds it disturbing that while the nation passes through this trying time, “officials of the Buhari Presidency are shamelessly alluding to how they sleep in comfort of their homes “ensconced in the tender bosom” of their ‘wives and girlfriends.’

“This is even more distressing coming from the office of the Commander in Chief, who had failed in his promise to lead the fight against terrorists from the fronts.

“It is however instructive to note that the Buhari Presidency acts as if it is not in sync with the reality of our nation.

“It appears that it does not appreciate the situation in which terrorists, who had been pushed to the fringes, before President Buhari took over in 2015, had now resurged to hold our nation to ransom under his incompetent watch.

“Instead of this dismissive stance, our party calls on President Buhari to brace up for leadership as required by God, take steps to equip our security system, sort out issues of welfare of our men on harm’s way; and replace his service chiefs, who have apparently become fatigued, with more competent hands to tackle the security challenges of our nation.

“Moreover, the overwhelming position by Nigerians today is that if President Buhari cannot review his parade, the service chiefs themselves, having seen that they are outliving their usefulness, should voluntary vacate their offices in the interest of our nation.”

The PDP however urged “our gallant and patriotic young men and women in the fronts not to be discouraged by such unguarded statements emanating from certain officials of the Buhari-led APC administration, who appears not to appreciate the sacrifices being made by our troops for the security of our nation.”

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Mali army probes jihadist prisoners death

The Malian army has ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of three jihadist prisoners while they were being transferred to a military camp, Mali’s armed forces said on Saturday.

The army’s chief of staff said in a statement that “three of four prisoners lost their lives while being transferred from Boulkessi”, where the Group of Support for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) — a group close to al-Qaeda — is active, to Sevare, where the army has an important base.

The statement said the chief of staff had ordered “the opening of an investigation to determine the circumstances of the prisoners’ death. He offers his condolences to the families of the victims.”

The four militants had been captured on January 13 following fighting during a military anti-terrorist operation in a village 25 kilometres (15 miles) south west of Boulkessi near the border with Burkina Faso, the statement said.

The statement did not specify whether the incident was connected to two operations by France’s armed forces last weekend in which around 15 jihadists were killed and four arrested in the same region.

The region close to the Burkina Faso border is the epicentre of a deadly Islamist offensive that began in northern Mali in 2012 and then advanced into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, inflaming ethnic tensions along the way.

Independent confirmation of reports in this area is difficult, given the remoteness and danger.

Last month, an exhaustive report into strife-torn Mali by UN investigators said it had garnered evidence of war crimes committed by the security forces and others, and of crimes against humanity by jihadists and other armed groups.

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Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni set for sixth term after 35-year rule

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2019. REUTERS-Arnd Wiegmann
Agence France-Presse

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni looked headed for a sixth term as president with election results Saturday placing him firmly ahead of his main rival, who has cried fraud and whose home has been put under heavy guard.

The country’s election commission announced that with 86.7 percent of polling stations reporting results, Museveni had 58.8 per cent of votes, while former popstar Bobi Wine had 34.2 per cent.

Final results are expected by Saturday afternoon.

Wine, 38, meanwhile was on track to see his newly formed National Unity Platform become the main opposition party in Parliament, notably winning eight of nine constituencies in the capital Kampala.

The poll followed one of the most violent campaigns in years, with harassment and arrests of the opposition, attacks on the media and the deaths of at least 54 people.

Thursday’s election took place in apparent calm, but under the oppressive presence of soldiers and riot police and an internet blackout which has now entered its fourth day.

However, Wine has alleged widespread fraud such as ballot box stuffing and said his party agents had in some places been beaten and chased away from polling stations.

“Whatever is being declared is a complete sham, we reject it and we dissociate ourselves with it,” he said on Friday.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, promised to provide video evidence once the internet was restored.

Election commission chairman Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama said “the onus is on candidate Kyagulanyi to show how votes are rigged.”

On Friday late afternoon Wine told AFP he felt under threat as soldiers surrounded his home

“They jumped over my fence. They came inside my compound. They are here right now. I don’t know why they’re here. But I’m imagining they are here to harm me. I feel threatened,” said the 38-year-old, who described the invasion as unprecedented and “a siege”.

The army’s deputy spokesman Deo Akiiki said the soldiers were there to provide security and had stopped three people who tried to “access the house”.

Police have advised people not to go out to celebrate or protest when results are announced citing draconian Covid-19 regulations which have regularly been used to crack down on the opposition.

– 35 years of Museveni –

Museveni has ruled Uganda without pause since seizing control in 1986, when he helped to end years of tyranny under Idi Amin and Milton Obote. He is one of Africa’s longest serving leaders.

Once hailed for his commitment to good governance, the former rebel leader has crushed any opposition and tweaked the constitution to allow himself to run again and again.

And for many in the country, where the median age is 16 and most have known only one president, Museveni’s glory days are no longer relevant or sufficient.

Wine, with his humble origins in a slum and popular songs about economic and social injustice, struck a cord with the youth, but observers say the odds were stacked against him with Museveni’s powerful grip on the state.

The election took place with no major internation observer mission aside from the African Union, with the United States saying too many of its staff were denied permission to monitor the vote.

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U.S. imposes fresh sanctions on Iran in final days of Donald Trump presidency

FILE PHOTO - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, U.S., January 12, 2021. Andrew Harnik-Pool via REUTERS

The United States on Friday sanctioned companies in Iran, China and the United Arab Emirates for doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and on three Iranian entities over conventional arms proliferation.

They are the latest in a series of measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, which ends on Jan. 20.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington had sanctioned seven companies, including Chinese-based Jiangyin Mascot Special Steel Co. and UAE-based Accenture Building Materials, and two people for shipping steel to or from Iran.

He said Iran’s Marine Industries Organization, Aerospace Industries Organization and the Iran Aviation Industries Organization had also been blacklisted over conventional arms proliferation.

Iran has been a focus of Trump during his four years in office as he tried to force Tehran back into talks over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its activities in the Middle East. In 2018 Trump quit an Iran nuclear deal that Tehran struck with world powers in 2015 to rein in its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief because it did not go far enough.

Trump said he was open to negotiating a much wider pact that would seek more extensive constraints on Iran’s nuclear program, as well as limits on its development of ballistic missiles and its sponsorship of militias in regional nations such as Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who will succeed Trump on Wednesday, has said he will return to the 2015 nuclear pact if Iran resumes strict compliance with it.

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Heartland boss vows not to honour Rivers United clash

Coach of NPFL side Heartland FC Fidelis Ilechukwu has expressed his deep concern about his team despite the Owerri side’s 1-0 win over Jigawa Golden stars incidentally been their first win of the league season coming on match day 5.

Heartland boss Fidelis Illechukwu has vowed not to honour the NPFL clash against Rivers United.

Speaking, Ilechukwu said he is not talking about salaries again but the players accommodation, players registration, and also equipment for trainings.

The former MFM boss said he will not be on the bench to honour the game against Rivers united on Sunday if his conditions are not met.

“Most of my players are not registered and I am not happy about it. I am in pain for not being backed,” He lamented.

“I don’t see anything difficult in getting players accommodation and getting them registered – these things are not difficult,”

“If the management can’t do all these things, why are we here?”

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University of Nigeria releases resumption date

File Photo

The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, on Friday, said the academic activities for the remaining 2019/2020 session would commence on the 18th of this month for the postgraduate students, while the undergraduates are to resume on Monday, the 25th of this month.

This was the fallout of the 404th emergency meeting of the Senate of the University held on Tuesday, this week, according to the statement made available on the institution’s official website by the Registrar, Dr. Chris Igbokwe, on Friday.

The Senate equally said that all the coronavirus safety protocols as prescribed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, must be strictly observed by both the staff and students of the institution, adding that students must wear face masks and have personal hand sanitizers before gaining entry into hostels, classrooms and offices.

The information also disclosed that students would make use of ICT tools such as mails, WhatsApp, text messages and phone calls in learning to avoid overcrowding.

Part of the statement also reads “Students are expected to utilize the handwashing materials provided in designated places in the University to wash their hands properly as they gain entry and depart various places.

“Students must comply with social distancing rules.

“Students are advised to strictly observe hostel rules to avoid overcrowding in the hostels.

“Students are to use ICT tools such as official emails, WhatsApp, text messages and phone calls to avoid overcrowding.

“Infrared thermometers will be provided to check the temperature of students before entry into hostels and lecture halls. Students with temperature above tolerable levels or exhibit other symptoms of coronavirus will be referred to the University’s medical facilities.”

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Bishop Kukah: Nigeria has not recovered from civil war

Catholic News Agency

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev Matthew Kukah, has said Nigeria has not recovered from wounds of the civil war, 51 years after the unfortunate event.

He also lamented the leaders have not learnt instructive lessons from the 30-month war.

The activist-cleric, who spoke at the second edition of the ‘Never Again Conference” said the country has failed to adopt resolutions meant to heal the wounds of the war.

The theme of the virtual conference was:’51 years after the Nigerian-Biafran civil war.’

It was chaired by Afenifere chieftain Chief Ayo Adebanjo.

The ‘Never Again Conference’ is the brainchild of Nzuko Umunna, a pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, which organised the first edition in Lagos last year.

Kukah said some of the neglected resolutions were re-echoed at the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and chaired by the late Justice Chikudifu Oputa.

He also said while the military laid the foundation for Nigerians to begin a process of rebuilding the nation, “things somehow went wrong” along the line.

Kukah stressed: “I have met a lot of people who fought the war who are full of regrets. There is a lot of resentment, anxiety and frustration that we have not learnt any lessons.

“Fifty-one years after the war, we are still hearing the kind of agitations that ordinarily, with commitment, dedication, focus and the right leadership, we should have put a lot of the anxieties behind us. Unfortunately, they are still with us.”

The bishop described the Oputa panel, which he was part of as “the best school I would ever hope to attend”.

He added: “Oputa Panel managed to generate quite a lot of data and information that academicians and policymakers would have used to ensure we erect the signpost saying, ‘Never Again’, because it gave us an opportunity, a mirror to look at ourselves after hearing from all sides but we didn’t have the discipline to follow through.

“We have not been able to forgive ourselves as a people. The wounds of the civil war have not been able to heal. Coups and counter-coups that followed were more or less miniature civil wars by themselves because they threw up the same contradictions, anxieties and feeling of divisiveness across the country.”

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