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                 TOP NEWS IN NIGERIA TODAY

=> Revealed: How ex-president Jonathan spent N2.2bn on prayers to fight Boko Haram- The Nation

Fresh revelations emanating from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have it that ex-president Goodluck Jonathan spent about N2.2billion on prayers to fight Boko Haram. The Nation gathered from an executive director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa, that the money was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against insurgency in the country.

This latest development is not part of the $2.1billion arms fund for which former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki is being tried. The monies for the prayer, it was gathered, was disbursed through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), as proposed by Baba-Kusa. Making this revelation was Baba-Kusa himself, in a statement of witness filed in the high court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where he, Dasuki and three others(Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited (owned by Baba-Kusa) and a former director of finance in ONSA, Shuaibu Salisu) are facing trials. The NNPC director confessed that the money was spent on prayers to hasten the defeat of the insurgents, and that it was released in two tranches of N1,450,000,000 and N750,000,000, adding that the proposal was verbal. “I approached the former NSA and discussed Boko Haram problems and I suggested there is need for prayers and he considered and accepted in 2013 when he first came to office.

“I personally sponsored many people locally and some few to Saudi Arabia. Some monies were later paid into our companies, which we paid to some of the mallams. “I then arranged to recover my personal expense which I put into our own businesses. “We have been spending a lot from our businesses and personal accounts. Money paid through UBA, First Bank and ECOBANK. For Acacia Holdings Limited(A/C 1017330319-UBA); ECOBANK(0122012650); and First Bank(Reliance Referral Hospitals Limited A/C 2022394057). The total amount is N2,200,000,000 from October 2014 to April 2015,” Baba-Kusa confessed. According to him, he may not be an expert, “but I used some of the mallams to organise in Abuja, Zaria, Kano, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Kaduna and Saudi Arabia covering 2013 to 2015.

=> Fresh Lassa fever outbreak kills three in Bauchi- Vanguard
A fresh outbreak of Lassa fever has claimed at least three lives in Bauchi state, while 10 members of a family have tested positive to the disease. Ibrahim Gamawa, the executive chairman Bauchi state primary health care development agency, made this disclosure in a statement on Thursday, March 10. According to him, the 10 new cases were recorded in a single family at Jaye village in Tafawa Balewa local government area of the state, Vanguard Gamawa revealed that the fresh Lassa fever outbreak started after a 78-year-old man died of the disease without seeking professional medical treatment. READ ALSO: NDDC donates Lassa fever kits to states in Niger Delta Gamawa said: “Investigations revealed that the deceased contracted the virus from Liman Katagum, where some cases of Lassa Fever were found in November last year. “The victim was put on traditional treatment from patent medicine stores for a number of days before he died. 10 persons contacted the virus and samples of their blood were taken to Irrua laboratory in Edo State, where they were confirmed positive. “They are now on admission at the state isolation centre of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching hospital, Bauchi.” Following the fresh outbreak, Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi state has approved the construction of infectious diseases centre in Bayara Hospital in Bauchi, where cases of infectious diseases will be treated, while federal government will assist with equipping the hospital with facilities.

 => Buhari redeploys 184 top officials over budget

President Muhammadu Buhari has removed about 184 top budget officials from budget duties and redeployed them to establishments that have little or nothing to do with budget over their roles in padding the 2016 budget. READ ALSO: FG Discovers 11,000 ghost workers in its payroll The president’s move is in pursuance to his earlier stance to deal decisively with all those involved in the padding of the 2016 national budget which caused much embarrassment to the federal government. Speaking about the shakeup, a top official in the budget office confirmed to Vanguard that 22 top officers from the budget office of the federation were affected in the mass deployment. The rest were moved away from budget-related duties in other ministries, departments and agencies, (MDAs). Following the mass redeployment, 14 other directors said to have been tested have been redeployed to the same office with immediate effect to replace the removed officers. The directive to redeploy the tainted officers to other duties reportedly came from the office of the head of service of the federation. All the affected officers, according to the directive, are to report in their new locations on or before the close of work today, March 1o.
Recall that back in February, President Muhammadu Buhari complained the unauthorised alterations of the 2016 budget had completely changed the document from the one he presented to the National Assembly, He vowed that all those involved in the padding of the budget will face the most severe punishment. He also ordered for investigation into allegations of fraudulent alterations in the document with strict orders that all cases of discrepancies, errors and ambiguities be resolved promptly.

=>APC vice-chairman Ali Danmaraya is dead (photo)

Ali Danmaraya, vice-chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano state, is dead, The Cable reports. Danmaraya died at his residence on Thursday morning, March 10, after a brief illness. READ ALSO: Late James Ocholi to be buried next week According to the report, the 73 year old has been buried according to Islamic rites at the Farm Centre Cemetery in Tarauni local government area of the state. A twitter user with the name (@danzainabsports) also confirmed the report. In English, it means: “God is great. God has done this. Alhaji Ali Isa Danmaraya, Vice Chairman of Kano state APC is dead. His funeral/funeral prayer will hold now.” Ganduje of Kano state and Hafizu Abubakar, his deputy. Addressing newsmen at the ceremony, Governor Ganduje described the late Danmaraya as a hard working and dedicated member of the APC. Ganduje said the party would miss him greatly because of his exemplary leadership qualities and kindness to the people. Danmaraya death comes just 48 hours after Senator Abdulmimun Zareko, who represented Jigawa state in the 7th National Assembly passed on. His death also comes four days after Nigeria’s minister of state for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi, his wife and son lost their lives on the Kaduna-Abuja expressway after a fatal car crash.

=>Tinubu’s Daughter Leads Protest Against APC Government-Punch

The Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Chief Folasade Tinubu-Ojo, on Thursday, led market women to protest the non-inclusion of market women in President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress administration.
Tinubu-Ojo who is also the daughter of the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu led several women who converged at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.
According to her, it was the opinion of market women of Nigeria that the present administration is not carrying them along even after they worked tirelessly to ensure the party emerged victorious during the 2015 election.

She lamented that “after the inauguration, most of us are not (being) carried along.”
Tinubu-Ojo said, “I am here this afternoon to represent market women and men of Nigeria. There has been agitations, not even agitation of allegation, the people believed that the government of the day is not carrying them along as it should be, that they worked round the clock for the party during the electioneering campaign, but after the inauguration most of us are not carried along.
“We only hear on the news that the First Lady is doing a programme this and that and we just see it on the news and they wouldn’t allow me be, all the complain come to my table morning and night and I say okay, enough is enough.

“We even heard that another FCT woman leader that is organising another market association and named it Association of Organised Market People in Abuja and most of these people are PDP, they were nowhere to be found when we are working for the party day and night, so now our people are not happy because they need to benefit from where they believe they have the right to and all we need, all we are crying for is for the government to give them sense of belonging and carrying them along properly.”

When asked whether her father, Asiwaju Tinubu in the know of her agitation, she said, “because I am the daughter of the National leader of APC doesn’t mean that I must not represent my people well, I have to represent my people’s opinion, I am a leader, and as a leader, my people are crying foul and I won’t fold my hands and keep quite because my father is a national leader, it is wrong, I am not mobilizing against the party, no, I am solidly behind the party, I have work for the party before and I will still work for the party tomorrow, but that does not stop me from saying the truth.”READ FULL NEWS

 => Ranking of Yoruba Obas: Awujale blasts Alake – ‘You are just a junior king in Yorubaland’-Nigerianeye

The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, has berated the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, for categorising himself among the five top monarchs in Yorubaland.
At a fundraiser for a professorial chair instituted in his honour by the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, in Lagos on Thursday, the Awujale said the Alake was a junior oba in Yorubaland.
Reacting to a categorisation of monarchs by the Alake recently when the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, visited him (Alake), Oba Awujale said the Egba monarch was peddling falsehood and turning history upon its head.

The Awujale said, “The Alake, while receiving the Ooni in his palace, said Yoruba Obas (the ‘Big Five’ so to say) had been categorised with the Ooni in the first position followed by the Alaafin, the Oba of Benin, with the Alake coming fourth and the Awujale occupying the fifth spot in that order. He also went further to quote wrongly from a 1903 Gazette to support all the fallacies in his statement.”
He added that when he learnt about the comment, he contacted the Alake, who he added, vehemently denied saying so.
He added, “In a recent discussion between the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and me, we also touched on the same issue and the Oba of Lagos told me that he too had asked Alake the same question, which he had again denied vehemently.

“Regrettably, however, when the said statement few days later was continuously credited to the Alake on the pages of newspapers, I expected him to deny it or issue a rebuttal, but he did not do so.
Therefore, I consider it necessary to debunk the falsehood and misrepresentation of facts from the Ake Palace so as to put the records straight.”

The Awujale argued that the 1903 Gazette referred to by the Alake was just a newspaper publication.
“The first question to Alake is: who categorised the Yoruba Obas and when? I challenge him to produce the document of the said categorisation. It is a known fact that Alake was a junior traditional ruler under the Alaafin at Orile Egba before he fled to Ibadan for refuge as a result of the war then ravaging the Yorubaland.


=>Nigeria needs $500m to fix refineries-Vangaurd
ABUJA – MINISTER of State for Petroleum and Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu yesterday said that the four refineries in the country will require between $300 million to $500 million to function effectively. The minister disclosed this during an interactive meeting with the joint House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources, Petroleum (Downstream and Upstream) and Local Content chaired by Rep Victor Nwokolo over the controversy on the recent unbundling of NNPC to 30 companies. He acknowledged the communication gap between his office and the National Assembly on the issue of unbundling of the NNPC, adding that the concerns expressed by members were legitimate. Kachukwu said that the “unbundling was used to qualify the sub-sects” otherwise called ‘Divisions’, and not companies as would have been applicable to the actual unbundling of the Corporation as stipulated in the PIB. He assured that the restructuring of NNPC will help in achieving 16 to 18 month self-sufficiency of supply of Petroleum products as well as the establishment of the modular type refineries by investors as contained in the recent advert placed by the Corporation.

=> Fuel scarcity worsens despite suspension of strike by oil workers-Nigerianeye

The suspension of the strike by oil workers in Nigeria yesterday did nothing to relieve millions of Nigerians in different parts of the country of the pains they have been experiencing in the past two weeks due to shortage of petrol.
NigerianEye learnt that the strike was suspended on Thursday morning after a marathon meeting between officials of the Federal Government and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria on Wednesday night.
However, the suspension of the strike did nothing to relieve motorists in different parts of the country of the pains they have been experiencing in the past two weeks due to shortage of petrol.

In Lagos, very few filling stations which had the product to dispense recorded long queues of desperate motorists, who were joined by those who wanted to use the product to fuel their generators as a result of the prolonged blackout being experienced in the state and the attendant heatwaves.
The situation was the same in Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun and Nasarawa.
The workers had staged a protest at the headquarters of the NNPC, blocked the entrances to the firm and shut its operations nationwide on Wednesday, a development that worsened the already bad state of fuel supply across the country.

On Thursday morning, the Group Chairman, NUPENG, NNPC Branch, Mr. Odudu Udofia, told one of our correspondents that the strike had been suspended.
The suspension of the strike was also confirmed by an official of the NNPC in an email, in which he said officials of “NUPENG and PENGASSAN had a marathon meeting with the GMD/Minister of Petroleum (State) and NNPC top management for several hours, ending this (Thursday) morning at 4:30am on the ongoing industrial action.
“After exhaustive deliberations, a resolution was signed by the two parties. In view of that, the industrial action is hereby suspended.”
It was also gathered that marketers of petroleum products were currently avoiding the Lagos market, which they said was heavily regulated in terms of product pricing, adding that this was making them to have low margins.


=>‘Davido Worldwide Music’: Davido Floats New Record Label, Gives Reasons

Fresh from signing a mouthwatering deal with international music label, Sony Music Entertainment, pop sensation, Davido has floated a new record label.
Aptly named ‘Davido Worldwide Music’, the need to float the new record label according to the ‘Aye’ crooner was necessary following his new recording and distribution deal with Sony Music.
Speaking with ERAVE on the new project Davido disclosed that he cannot sign any international deal without a verifiable and known company.

“I cannot sign an international deal without a company. Since I cannot sign as Davido, I registered the ‘Davido Worldwide Music’ label. It is a company managed separately by myself, my manager, my executive producer and HKN for my international endeavours.”
“The Sony deal doesn’t affect HKN label in any way. Sony Music relates with Davido’s new record label for the international market. Don’t go and write Davido leaves HKN because I don’t want my brothers to come after me,” he added jokingly.
You will recall that Davido penned a music deal with Sony Music in January 2016. The 2 album deal is a recording and distribution deal which will allow for the publishing and global distribution of intellectual materials from the ‘Skelewu’ crooner by Sony Music Entertainment.
His label, HKN Gang which he co owns with his elder brother, Adewale Adeleke is home to music acts such as Sina Rambo, B-Red, Danagog, Deekay and the newly signed Mayorkun….

Sultry singer, Emma Nyra has joined the growing list of musicians venturing into acting.

With artistes like Davido, Falz, Sean Tizzle and many others making successful Nollywood debuts, the former Triple MG first lady has also acted in Moses Inwang’s upcoming comedy, ‘American Driver’.

Emma Nyra starred alongside comedian, AY, Nadia Buari, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Anita Chris, Jim Iyke and international actor, Evan King in the movie titled, ‘American Driver’.

Emma plays the role of a passenger who boards the lead character’s cab while on a journey.

The movie, which is expected to premiere soon, is however the third screen appearance for the ‘For my Matter’ singer.

=> Jim Iyke, Nadia Buari star in comedy
The cast in the comedy film American Driver
Nollywood director, Moses Inwang, has concluded work on a comedy film titled American Driver. The movie which premiers soon features movie stars such as Nse Ikpe-Etim and singer Emma Nyra as well as erstwhile lovers Nadia Buari and Jim Iyke who come together for the production of the movie. There are also appearances by comedian AY as well as Evan King and Anita Chris. READ ALSO: Who is to blame for recent building collapse in Lagos? The movie was also co-produced by Jim Iyke. It was shot in Texas, USA and promises a thrilling comedy performance. Describing the movie, via his Instagram account, the director Inwang said the movie was made to make the audience laugh till they drop.

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