Police inspector allegedly beats widow to death in Akwa Ibom

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Police inspector allegedly beats widow to death in Akwa IbomBy Chioma Onuegbu

A police officer in Akwa Ibom state police command identified as Inspector Bassey Ikpe has allegedly beaten one widow, Mrs. Deborah Mkpenie to death over a civil matter based on inheritance rights.

An eyewitness and a tricycle rider Sunday Umoren told newsmen yesterday that the brutal murder of the widow and mother of three occurred last Thursday, Jan 16, 2020, following the invitation of late Mrs. Mkpenie by Bassey Ikpe who was the Police Investigation Officer (I.P.O) in the civil matter.

Umoren who brought the deceased to the Police Headquarters Ikot Akpan narrated how Ikpe attached to the State Criminal Investigation Department, (SCID) manhandled Mrs Mkpenie at the police premises.

He said, “The policeman approached my Keke which bore the woman, shouted at her that she was lying about her sickness. He made efforts to drag her out, in anger, he knocked her head several times by the side rail of the Keke. The woman was screaming that she is not well.

“She began to suffocate and found it difficult to breathe. The policeman kept insisting that she was lying that she was not feeling well. He even told her that, if she wanted to die, she should die. As the policeman kept trying to pull her out of the Keke, she was screaming until her voice grew faint.

“We even begged the policeman to refrain from his hostile act towards the woman. He even refused our taking her to hospital. It was after she breathed her last, that he eventually ordered that she should be taken to the hospital.”

Another eyewitness and sister to the deceased Mfonobong Peter corroborated Umoren’s explanation that Inspector Ikpe went wild that the deceased was lying about her state of health to escape being arraigned in court.

READ ALSO: Graphic: One shot dead, another injured as police disperse Shi’ites protest in Abuja

“My late sister was beaten to death by Inspector Bassey Peter Ikpe. He had threatened her repeatedly ever since this matter came up. My sister had waist pains arising from the dislocation she had while caring for the late husband. This made it difficult for her move about freely.

“She was also hypertensive due to the health complications that led to the husband’s death. But this policeman refused to take even the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. I don’t know what interest he had on the matter.

“He had forced her to come to the police station, so that they could appear in court on a fictitious criminal charge, against the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, the previous day. He beat my sister to death. I want Justice to be done”, she lamented.

She noted that when her late sister was rushed to the Police Clinic, the doctor confirmed she was already dead, adding “On returning to the police headquarters, we were denied entry into the premises by the police officers at the gate”.

However, it was gathered on Wednesday that Inspector was arrested on Tuesday January, 21 and detained pending completion of investigation into the murder case.

A human rights activist and Executive Director, Foundation for Civic Education, Human Rights and Development Advancement (FoCERaDA) Mr Clifford Thomas (Esq) described the action of Inspector Ikpe as highly condemnable.

Thomas who said the organisation petitioned the IGP,and CP when the matter was brought to her said “What this development means is that we still have police officers who needs further training in respect to observance and promotion of Human Rights.

” We are insisting on justice for the late widow because the action contravenes section 33 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). However, the reaction of the Commissioner of Police in the state is commendable.

“He swung into action immediately he got the report and after enquiries got him (Ikpe) arrested yesterday (Tuesday) and detained him while investigation is ongoing”

Thomas added that their brief has it that Victor Nkereuwem Mkpenie, Mkpenie Nkereuwem Mkpenie, and Aniekan Nkereuwem Mkpenie, stepsons of the deceased reported a civil matter based on inheritance and sharing of properties of the late husband of the deceased to the said Inspector Bassey Peter Ikpe, who thereon tutored them to frame up a lame charge against the deceased.

“The charge never came up but the deceased had filed for the enforcement of her fundamental human rights following the repeated harassment she received from the Inspector Ikpe and her three stepsons. The trio had threatened that the deceased would die and the case discontinued.

“On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the SCIID , S. U Horsefall had warned Inspector Ikpe against his very obvious violation of police regulations and procedure and advised him to bring all the parties for interview on that fateful day to see if going to court would still be an option”

Several efforts by newsmen to get police reaction on the incident was abortive.

However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko MacDon, in a statement yesterday made available to newsmen said, “The attention of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command has been drawn to a publication in some dailies and online media that Police personnel attached to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, one Inspr. Bassey Ikpe reportedly beat up one Mrs. Deborah Nkereuwem Mkpenie to death on Thursday, 16th of January, 2020.

“To authenticate this serious allegation, the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, CP Imohimi Edgal has ordered the immediate arrest of the said Inspector.

“The Commissioner has instructed the Deputy Commissioner, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter, while reiterating the Command’s commitment to policing with great respect for human rights”.

The post Police inspector allegedly beats widow to death in Akwa Ibom appeared first on Vanguard News.

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2020 Budget, Trump’s impeachment, Uwajumogu’s death, Adoke’s arrest, others topped this week news

It’s been such a busy week with so many stories. It’s possible that you may have missed some of our most interesting stories from this week.

The 2020 Budget, Trump’s impeachment, Orji Kalu’s dilemma, Uwajumogu’s death, Adoke’s arrest and others topped this week news trend.

To make sure you’re up-to-date, The Nation brings you a brief round-up of the major stories this week in case you missed the mark. ALAO ABIODUN reports.

Here is a roundup of the major political news stories this week below –

Donald Trump impeached by U.S House of Reps

The U.S. President, Donald Trump, has been impeached by the country’s House of Representatives.

The house voted late Wednesday to impeach the president on his 1,062nd day in office for alleged obstruction of Congress and abuse of power related to his dealings with Ukraine.

A trial will now be set up in the Senate to decide whether he remains in office.

Mr Trump is only the third U.S. President to face such trial and if the odds go against him, he will become the first to be removed from office via the impeachment process.

After several hours of heated dispute on the House floor between two leading parties in the U.S – Democrats and Republicans – the lawmakers voted largely along party lines.

The proceedings on Wednesday began with members of Mr Trump’s Republican Party calling for votes on procedural issues in an effort to frustrate the process.

Democrats control the House 233 to 197 seats over Republicans, with one independent and four vacancies.

According to the Washington post, the Democratic-controlled House passed two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — related to the president’s attempts to withhold military aid to Ukraine and pressure its government to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.

Mr Biden is a potential presidential candidate of the Democratic Party and could be Mr Trump’s major challenger in the upcoming 2020 U.S general elections.

The House voted 230 to 197 to approve the article accusing the president of abuse of power. On the obstruction of Congress vote, which followed soon after, the tally was 229 to 198.

Trump’s Republican Party members in the house all voted against both articles, but it was not enough to stop the process.

The Senate trial on whether to remove the president is expected to begin in early January.

Should Trump eventually be removed, Vice President Mike Spence will step in.

Senate confirms new chairpersons for FIRS, AMCON

The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Muhammad Nami as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

Also confirmed are members and representatives of geopolitical zones for FIRS.

Those confirmed are James Yakwen Ayuba – Member (North Central); Ado Danjuma – Member (North West) and Adam Baba Mohammad – Member (North East)

Others are A. Ikeme Osakwe – Member (South East); Adewale Ogunyomade – Member (South West) and Ehile Adetola Aigbangbee – Member (South South).

Representatives of MDAs confirmed are Ladidi Mohammad – Member Attorney-General of the Federation; Godwin Emefiele – Member Central Bank of Nigeria; Fatima Hayatu Member – Ministry of Finance and Maagbe Adaa – Member Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission

Others are Umar Ajiya – Member Nigerian National Petroleum Commission; T. M. lsah – Member Nigerian Customs Service and Registrar General – Member Corporate Affairs Commission.

The confirmation comes about a week after President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate seeking their confirmation.

It was sequel to a presentation of the report of the Senate committee on finance.

The chairman of the committee, Solomon Olamilekan, who made the presentation, recommended that the Senate confirm the appointment of the nominees.

The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Edward Adamu as the chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) – following the presentation of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.

Alleged Fraud: Maina to remain in jail till 2020

The former chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, who is facing trial for alleged money laundering will remain in the Correctional Centre in Kuje, till January 2020.

Mr Maina’s son, Faisal, is also being prosecuted for money laundering by the anti-graft agency, EFCC.

At the last adjourned date, the court had granted Faisal’s plea to be transferred to Kuje Correctional Centre from Police Tactical Squad, Asokoro.

Mr Maina is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering, operating fictitious accounts and other fraudulent activities.

The former PRTT chairman, who was in hiding for almost two years, was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS).

The SSS then handed over Mr Maina to the EFCC, which had declared him wanted for over a year.

Mr Faisal was arrested alongside his father in September. The father is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds.

His son is accused of operating an account he used to divert various sums of money, including N58 million.

The two men were arraigned by the EFCC on October 25 on separate charges. They pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, the presiding judge, Okon Abang, adjourned Mr Maina’s trial to January 13 to hear his application for bail variation and that of Faisal to January 20, for the continuation of his trial.

Meanwhile, Justice Abang had said that though it would not be convenient for the court to take trial, but the arguments for Mr Maian’s application for bail variation would be taken.

However, the EFCC’s lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, said he was ready for the continuation of the trial and that the prosecution’s next witness was in court.

Buhari signs 2020 budget

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2020 appropriation bill into law.

He signed the bill at about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The National Assembly had on December 5, 2019, passed the budget estimates presented by Mr Buhari on October 8, 2019.

The National Assembly increased the budget estimates from N10.33 trillion to N10.50 trillion.

The passage was a sequel to the presentation of a report by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Barau Jibrin.

The signing was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Others are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Minister in charge of Budget and Planning, Clement Agba and the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.

A breakdown of the budget showed that N560,470,827,235 was budgeted for Statutory transfer; N2,725,498,930,000 for debt servicing; N4,842,974,600,640 for recurrent expenditure; N2,465,418,006,955 for capital expenditure; and N2.28 trillion for fiscal deficit.

When the National Assembly passed the bill last Thursday, new projects inserted into the budget moved it up to ₦10.594 trillion.

A breakdown of the inserted projects obtained by PREMIUM TIMES showed that the country may end up spending more on what anti-corruption agents and activists have identified as “vague, frivolous, self-enrichment projects smuggled into the budget by federal lawmakers.”

The new projects are expected to cost Nigeria about ₦264 billion.

Mr Buhari signed the budget document into law on the occasion of his 77th birthday on Tuesday, and commended the National Assembly for speedy passage of the bill.

“It is my pleasant duty, today, on my 77th birthday, to sign the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law,” a message posted on Mr Buhari’s twitter page said.

“I’m pleased that the National Assembly has expeditiously passed this Bill. Our Federal Budget is now restored to a January-December implementation cycle.”

FG declares Dec. 25, 26, Jan.1, 2020 public holidays

The Federal Government has declared Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 as well as Jan. 1, 2020 as public holidays for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year celebrations.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, announced this on Thursday in Abuja through a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Mrs Georgina Ehuriah.

Aregbesola felicitated with Christians and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on the 2019 Christmas and New Year celebrations.

He enjoined all Christians to live by the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ.

According to him, those virtues hinge on compassion, patience, peace, humility, righteousness and love for one another.

The minister said that living by them would guarantee an atmosphere of peace and security in the country.

Aregbesola said that the determination of government toward peace and security would engender inflow of foreign direct investment, thereby revitalising the nation’s economy.

He said it would also improve employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the country.

The minister expressed confidence that 2020 would be a breakthrough year for all Nigerians.

Lawan, APC, senators, others mourn as Imo Senator Uwajumogu dies

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour and Employment Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu has died.

Uwajumogu (Imo North) attended plenary on Tuesday. Less than 24 hours after, he was gone.

The cause and circumstances of the death of the 51-year-old could not be confirmed last night but sources said he slumped suddenly yesterday morning in his house while having his bath. He was confirmed dead at an Apo hospital.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan expressed shock, especially when Uwajumogu “was full of life” at the chamber on Tuesday.”

Lawan, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Ola Awoniyi, commiserated with the deceased’s family, Imo State and friends over the loss.

He added: “But God gives and takes in line with his supreme sovereignty, so we cannot question His will.

“Senator Uwajumogu’s sudden death is shocking and a painful loss to the ninth National Assembly where he always made robust contributions to debates and other activities of the upper legislative chamber.

“He will be greatly missed by all of us and staff of the Senate.”

The Senate President prayed that God will comfort his loved ones and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, described Uwajumogu’s death as a huge loss to Nigeria, his constituents and Imo State.

Supreme Court affirms elections of eight governors

There was jubilation on Wednesday as the Supreme Court affirmed the election victories of governors in eight states.

They are: Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Masari (Katsina) Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).

The Supreme Court held that the appellants against the eight governors failed to prove their cases and dismissed their appeals.

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Meet the Nigerian developer that runs free online digital skills training on Facebook and Slack

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Martha (not real name) had no choice but to stay with her sick mum in hospital, but this didn’t mean much until it was clear her stay would run into a year. For Martha, it meant placing her life on hold as she wouldn’t have time to do anything else.

However, this changed when she came across Tech Skills Hack (TSH), an open Facebook group where people get free training on diverse digital skills ranging from graphic design to data analysis to content creation.

Martha joined the group, attended training religiously, and soon discovered she could become a certified digital skills expert running her personal creative agency.

Iniobong Udoh, the brain behind TSH, would be overwhelmed by a sense of fulfillment hearing this testimonial because it is clearly fulfilling the startup’s mission.

“Tech Skills Hack is a platform dedicated to equipping Nigerians with the in-demand and futuristic digital skills to curb unemployment and help businesses scale free of charge,” she says.

Demystifying digital literacy

There is a belief that people in the tech space are a bunch of code-writing geeks. However, Udoh thinks it’s only a myth.

“The tech ecosystem is a large community that includes all digital skills, ranging from graphic design, data analysis, content creation, that has nothing to do with writing code.”

Her mission was clear; to bridge the gap that exists between employers of labour and applicants without basic skills. And she does this by compiling curated digital skills resources and sharing on the various training platforms used.

To her, “Digital skills literacy means possessing skills you need to live, learn, and work in a society where communication and access to information is [sic] increasing through digital technologies like the online platforms, social media, and mobile devices.”

If anything, Udoh’s experience as a Google Certified Android developer and a certified UX expert came in handy as she brought the startup to life in February 2019 — a year after she got the idea but was held back by funds to either rent a hub or acquire equipment for physical training.

“I had to use the available platform and it was Facebook for me. Aside from programming, we train undergraduates on basic or foundational skills like Excel, PowerPoint, Canva, Google Sheets, and social media usage.”

TSH’s offering is twofold: solving the challenge of affordable training and acquiring the basic equipment to practise – a laptop. The aim is to assist young people to acquire relevant digital skill sets via their smartphones at no fee at all. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an encouraging first outing for her.

“I felt bad when we sent out the ad inviting people to learn and the response wasn’t impressive as thought [sic], but 50 people responding to our ad was fair.”

To build trust, Udoh made the platform open for interested individuals to join instead of adding people randomly. With time, the platform would have a good number of open-minded, willing, consistent, and determined members.

Apart from Udoh who is the founder, TSH’s team includes Nzaki Ekere who doubles as the CTO and in-house developer who takes web development classes and Anthony Eyo as the digital marketer. Extra help for on-site training also comes from volunteers, some of who have gone through training on the platform.

A social enterprise

“Tech Skills Hack is a non-profit venture. We’ve been running this for 9 months and it’s been self-funded. It is not too capital intensive because I use a free platform (Facebook) and get free volunteers. I get to search top-notch courses from organisations like Google, Udemy, and Coursera for free, so we don’t pay for these courses, except with our time, because I need to go through every course before sharing them on our platform,” Udoh explains.

With no change of business model in view, Udoh affirms that TSH will retain its non-profit social enterprise status for the next two years, but it will need as much help as it can get.

“Our aim is to equip every Nigerian with a digital skill at no cost or low cost, and we would appreciate support from people to achieve that.”

In over 9 months of operation, the startup boasts of more than 1000 users on both Facebook and Slack. It has also assisted 30 budding Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) to design logos and business cards for free. Lately, it conducted two free offline trainings in two Nigeria cities, Lagos and Uyo, in partnership with a Ghanaian tech hub, iSpace; and Directorate of Microfinance and Enterprise Development, Akwa Ibom State, respectively.

At a point when incorporating offline training is needed because online classes do not fully capture the startup addressable market, the founder admits that TSH is greatly in need of funds.

“We would appreciate financial and hub support. We need founders to allow us to use their hubs and gadgets for our trainings. We’ll also love free publicity so that more people can hear about what we are doing and get to join.”

Undeterred by challenges

Apart from funding, Udoh names trust issues as another challenge some people have because the belief is that with free trainings, the quality of content is usually bad.

She said they may not be able to change this perception, but the reviews, testimonials, and feedback received from students, who have gone ahead to get their certifications and even begin their own creative agencies, are enough motivation for the TSH team.

“I’ve lost count of the reviews and tags we get once a student learns a skill. Not only the testimonials but students using the skills they’ve learnt to better their lives and also pass down this knowledge to others is also what we use to measure our success and this we’ve been able to achieve in a short span of our existence.”

With another physical training program in the offing, the team is presently working on integrating an eLearning site with better and friendly learning features to further expand coverage.

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15 Nollywood Actors Who Have Faded Out | P.M. News

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By Funmilola Olukomaiya

Nigeria’s Nollywood industry has evolved over the years while progressively producing beautiful actors we cannot forget in a hurry.

The industry has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the years and has witnessed a lot of resharpening from what it used to be.

Nollywood had in years back been graced with multitalented actors who once starred on our screens, week-in-week-out; it has also experienced the sudden fading out of some of its best acts, more to the shock of their fans.

Below are 15 Nollywood actors who have faded out of our screens.

1. Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick

Beautiful gap-toothed Susan was born in Akwa Ibom state, she came into the limelight after she acted in the movie ‘Sakobi: The Snake Girl’. This made her one of the most sought after Nollywood actresses in the early ’90s. She was alleged to have snatched another woman’s hubby while a student at Lagos State University (LASU). She eventually faded away as a result of competition for most of the roles she acted.

2. Lilian Bach

Lilian Bach

Famous Nollywood actress and former model Lilian Bach who turned 49 recently was shot to the limelight for her prominent roles in blockbuster movies like ‘Ogidan’ and ‘Married to a Witch’. Lilian was born in Lagos Island to a Yoruba mother and a Polish father.
Lilian came into the limelight as a model in the 1990s when she competed in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) pageant. She also featured in several television commercials and she was at some point the Face of Delta Soap. She took a break from doing movies to pursue a career in production and has faded out since then.

3. Hanks Anuku

Hanks Anuku

Hanks Anuku was a Nigerian actor known for his numerous roles as a villain in many Nollywood films. He used to be the go-to guy when producers needed a perfect movie ‘bad boy.’ Trailed by personal controversies and alleged nonchalant attitude while on location, Hanks has gradually faded out of the movie scene. As of 2017, Anuku was said to have naturalized and become a Ghanaian.

4. Shan George

Shan George

Nollywood diva and movie producer Shan George was well-known the ’90s. The beautiful singer, prior to debuting in the movie ‘Thorns of Rose’, had previously featured in a 1997 soap opera titled ‘Winds of Destiny’. She is best known for her role in the movies ‘Outkast’ and ‘Welcome to Nollywood’.

5. Saint Obi

Saint Obi

Obinna Nwafor popularly known as Saint Obi, is a Nigerian actor, producer and director. As a great actor and Nollywood’s ‘bad’ boy, in the 1990s, hje was often called Nollywood’s Mr Quality because of his attention to details when producing or directing movies. He joined Nollywood in 1995 when he started attending movie auditions and featured in a number of soap operas which aired on NTA after which he was called by Opa Williams to star in a movie. Saint Obi is best known for his roles in Candle Light, Sakobi, Goodbye Tomorrow, Heart of Gold, Festival of Fire, Executive Crime and Last Party.

6. Pat Attah

Pat Attah

Patrick Uchenna Attah popularly known as Pat Attah is a famous Nollywood actor, director, television personality, model and musician. He the Nigerian Movie Industry in 1993 upon graduation and rose to popularity in 1994 after a brilliant performance in the movie “Glamour Girls”. In 2015, Pat became a born-again Christian and relocated with his family to Germany where he is a minister of the Gospel.

7. Sandra Achums

Sandra Achums

Popular Nollywood actress, Sandra Achums in the ’90s was probably one of the most popular actresses in the Nollywood industry. She joined the Nigerian movie industry in 1995 and acted in her first movie Deadly Affair. Her acting skills were excellent as she could interpret any role she was given hence, she was known as the bad girl of the Nollywood industry because she majorly acted as a bad girl, one role she always interpreted well. In the early 2000s, Sandra Achums took a break from acting and decided to face her family as she got married and started having children. She has since relocated to Germany with her family.

8. Charles Okafor

Charles Okafor

Popular Nollywood actor, Charles Okafor is recognized as one of the veteran actors in the Nollywood film industry. He was known in 1996 when he appeared in his first movie ‘Domitilla’ and in 1999, he rose to fame after starring in the blockbuster movie ‘End of the Wicked’. He is currently an ordained pastor.

9. Ejike Asiegbu

Ejike Asiegbu

Ejike Asiegbu is a Nigerian film actor and film director who once served as President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria. He was also previously appointed as personal assistant to former Biafran leader Odumegwu Ojukwu during the 1994 National Constitutional Conference in Abuja. He joined the Nigerian movie industry in 1996 and was shot into the limelight when he acted in his first movie, ‘Silent Night’.

10.

Rita Nzelu

Rita Nzelu is a renowned Nigerian actress, model, television personality who joined Nollywood in 1990. She made her debut in the movie “Living in Bondage”, a movie that brought her to fame and recognition in Nollywood. She is also known for Ortega and His Enemies (2014), Stigma of Womanhood (2016) and Terrible Sin (2001).

11. Ernest Asuzu

Ernest Asuzu

Ernest Asuzu is an actor, known for Last Wedding (2004), Ògìdán (2004) and Broad Day Light (2001). He was known for being dynamic in with his movie characters. Ernest also helped in contributing to the movie industry during his active years. He suffered a stroke in 2015.

12. Victoria Inyama

Victoria Inyama

Nollywood sweetheart, Victoria Inyama, began her acting career with a soap opera titled ‘Ripples’ between 1998/1999. She was featured after she was discovered by Alex Usifo who saw, the talent in her and invited her over for an audition. Victoria is married to the legendary author, Ben Okri. She relocated to the United Kingdom after she got married and this was responsible for her acting hiatus. She recently returned from her acting hiatus to feature in ‘Talking dolls,’ a 2017 movie which was rated as one of the best dramas of contemporary Africa.

13. Ndidi Obi

Nollywood actress, Ndidi Obi became popular when she took the lead role in the movie, ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent’, she has since then been referred to as ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent’ because of her epic role in the movie. She was recently featured in Ramsey Noah’s ‘Living In Bondage: Breaking Free’.

14. Nkiru Sylvanus

Nkiru Sylvanus

Nkiru Sylvanus is a famous Nigerian Nollywood actress who was known for her teary eyes and crying roles. Nkiru is one of the Nollywood actresses who created a niche for others to follow and one of the pillars that hold Nollywood firmly. She has acted in more than 150 movies playing minor and leads roles before delving into politics as the Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Rochas Okorocha, former Governor of Imo State.

15. Grace Amah

Grace Amah

Nollywood actress and mother of one, Grace Amah joined the Nigerian movie industry in 1999 when she started her acting career at the age of 13. She made her first debut as a 13-year-old character in the movie ‘Chains’. She became a public figure when she was featured in Teco Benson’s Nollywood blockbuster movie, ‘Elastic Limit’.

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THE DEATH OF ‘ALAGBA’

Government could do more to protect wildlife

The death recently of a famous tortoise, named ‘Alagba’, at the palace of the traditional ruler in Ogbomosho, Osun State, has elicited reactions from across the world. Said to have outlived several kings in the town, and very popular as a pet, it is no surprise that many feel a sense of loss.

However, the death of ‘Alagba’ has raised concerns among conservationists who believe these reptiles are almost extinct in the wild in Nigeria due to the activities of traditional institutions, particularly monarchs, native doctors, sorcerers and, of course, rich people who keep tortoise illegally as pets.

Ordinarily, the tortoise is highly vulnerable, particularly because it cannot take flight from danger, so people simply pick them from forest floors. While there are several species in Nigeria, the ‘Alagba’ specie is ‘centrochelys sulcata’. It is commonly called Desert Spurred Tortoise, according to Edem A. Eniang, Professor of Wildlife Resources Management, Herpetology and Biodiversity Conservation Department of Forestry and Natural Environmental Management, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. This specie of tortoise used to exist in Nigeria, and was originally found around Borno, Yobe, Katsina and Kano States. But the few of them in the country today are in captivity and because these species are almost locally extinct in Nigeria, what is seen in most places is trafficked into the country from Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and other West African countries.

Sadly, habitat destruction and fragmentation are among the biggest threats to their survival. Moreover, there is also heavy internal market within Nigeria that is fed by hunters who forage for tortoises in the thick forests of the southern parts of the country. This internal trade is also fuelled by an understanding that the tortoise has become more or less a status symbol collector’s item for the monarchs and the rich in the country. This is completely bizarre and puts Nigeria in a negative light in the comity of nations. Also, people in some communities eat the flesh as a delicacy. Interestingly, the exact number of tortoises in existence, in the wild or in captivity, in Nigeria is unknown because no one has done such research.

The major problems of tortoise conservation in Nigeria include habitat degradation (through uncontrolled logging, agricultural projects, industrial plantations, highway and urban development, and exploitation for fuelwood), over-hunting and poaching. Steps taken so far to protect wildlife include the creation of one National Park and 18 Game Reserves, enactment of wildlife laws, signing of international treaties, and manpower development. These measures have however failed to produce the desired effect owing largely to public apathy, low level of funding, inadequate game laws and weak enforcement of existing legal provisions. Several laws protect the tortoise, like other wildlife species, in Nigeria and these are: The Endangered Species’ Act; Convention on Biological Diversity; NESREA Act; National Park Service Act; Convention on migratory species; several states environmental protection laws and edicts.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is the strongest global law protecting endangered animals, tortoises inclusive. All protect different endangered tortoises in Nigeria. The federal government should intervene more positively in favour of conservation by creating more national parks and assume joint responsibility with the states government for formulating wildlife laws. Also, communities where tortoise exists must play a prominent role in their conservation.

Meanwhile, there is a controversy around the exact age of ‘Alagba’ which was believed to have lived 344 years before its death. This claim can be fact-checked by scientists if the carcass is well-embalmed. Conservationists say the carapace (shell) can help indicate the age of the tortoise by the number of concentric rings, much like the cross-section of a tree. If it is not too late, scientists should be brought in to confirm the real age of the late ‘Alagba’.

The post THE DEATH OF ‘ALAGBA’ appeared first on THISDAYLIVE.

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No respite yet on nation’s ‘death trap’ roads

The Ministry of Works and Housing has said the ongoing construction of many federal roads may suffer neglect if not adequately funded. ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE writes on the fresh threats by the Minister Babatunde Fashola

Good and motorable federal roads are becoming a rarity in this parts, no thanks to paucity of funds that continued to dog such dreams.

Achieving safe and motorable roads in the country, the bane of successive administration in the last three decades, has again reared its head and may put a cog in the wheel of the Buhari administration to bequeathe a motorable road across the country unless the National Assembly intervene and approve more funds for the works department.

Hinting of this grave reality, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, at his appearance before the House Committee on Works at the National Assembly urged the lawmakers to make more money available to the Ministry.

According to him, the N157 billion allocated to the Works Ministry in the 2020 budget, cannot give the nation any respite from death traps called roads.

According to him, the allocation is not enough to pay contractors for jobs already delivered. On the minimum, the Works Department, he said, needs N255 billion to fund new construction across the country, while N306 billion will be required to pay contractors for jobs.

Fashola also disclosed that N2.93 billion was pending in unpaid certificates under multilateral-funded projects.

The Federal Government is undertaking the reconstruction of 524 roads across the six geo-political zones in the country. Checks revealed that though some of the roads, like the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, were inherited by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, it has continued to take on new road assignments in its determination to open the country to even development.

Fashola said all roads being handled by the government would help open up the economy. He said the focus was to make ease of doing business in the country less cumbersome.

Besides the 524 federal roads, four others are multilateral-funded road projects, while 81 roads are being embarked upon under the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund (PIDF) and 45 others funded by the Sukuk bond.

Among other projects under the PIDF are Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Express Road, the Mambilla Hydro project and the East-West Road.

He, therefore, appealed to the lawmakers to make more money available to the ministry to ensure that none of the projects are stalled for lack of funds.

The lean budgetary allocation had also led to the stoppage of repayment to state governments for the repair of federal roads. Fashola said any government which embarked on such should not revert to it for payment as none would be paid. He advised the states to concentrate on state-funded roads.

He said: “When we came in, we inherited quite a number of such debts from states which repaired Federal roads and asked for refunds and the President directed that we pay all those that were approved by the previous government.”

Nigeria has 194,000 kilometres of road network and their neglect over the years, is posing grace danger to motorists, as bad roads has emerged as the major causes of deaths in the country.

More than 5000 deaths occur on Nigeria roads nationwide, a fact the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) high command would squarely lay on the doorstep of recklessness of drivers, than they would admit are caused by the deplorable roads.

Over speeding, recklessness and vehicle defects ranked very high in the causative factors of fatalities on the roads, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi would readily admit.

But the government admits that the roads are crumbling faster than they can be fixed. The worse stage roads are in, the quicker cars and trucks deteriorate, rocketing, the cost of repairs and maintenance. For many the experience remains that the cost of fixing the cars are getting scarily higher than the cost of fueling it.

Checks showed that virtually all federal roads in the five southeastern states are in total ruin, making traveling an ordeal.

The swansong is similar in the Northeast and the remaining four geo-political zones are not left out. Sometimes in 2017, Fashola had said Nigeria may require about N7 trillion to fix all its road networks.

Among other roads being handled by the Federal Government in the Southeast are the rehabilitation of Sections 1 to 4 of the Enugu -Port Harcourt Expressway (Sukuk Bond; ongoing), rehabilitation of Amansea–Enugu Border section of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway (Sukuk Bond; ongoing), rehabilitation of 18km stretch of Onitsha–Awka Road (ongoing), construction of the Second Niger Bridge, rehabilitation of Arochukwu-Ohafia-Bende Road (ongoing). The Ikot Ekpene – Alaoji – Ugwuaji switching station has been completed.

Also ongoing is the emergency intervention on 63 roads which cut across the six geopolitical zones — Northeast, Northwest, Northcentral, Southwest, Southeast and Southsouth. In the Northeast, the construction of  Billiri Filiya in Taraba-Gombe Road through Potiskum-Agalda-Gombe State Border/bridge at Km 32, and Potiskum-Kari-Bauchi S/B Road in Yobe State are ongoing.

Also, undergoing rehabilitation are Tella Road and Bridge, Abutment and Apawa-Junction-Zing-Adamawa (State Border) in Taraba State. Bauch-Darazo-Kari Road in Bauchi State. Numan-Lafia-Gombe State Border Road, Numan-Jalingo Road.  Numan-Guyuk (Borno State Border. Ngurore-Mayobelwa Road in Adamawa State, all in the North East.

In the Northwest: Birnin Gwari Road in Kaduna, Kebbi-Argungu-Sokoto (State Border) Road in Kebbi State, Gusau-Chafe-Katsina Road in Zamfara, Rimawa-Sabonbirnin-Niger Republic Road (Section 1), Rimawa-Sabon-birnin-Niger Republic Road (Section 2) and bridge embankment in Sokoto State, Gumel-Mallam Madori-Hadeija Road, Birnin Kudu and Babaldu-Malumuwa-Bauchi S/B Road, among others in Jigawa,Yayasa Bridge in Kano and Dusinma-Kankara Road in Katsina State. North-central: Makurdi-Lafia Road and Makurdi-Gboko Road in Benue, Okene-Kabba Road and Kabba-Omuo Road in Kogi, Ajase-Offa-Erinle-Osun State Boundary Road in Kwara, Keffi Abuja Road and Keffi-Gittata-Kaduna S/b Road, Nassarawa-Toto-Abaji Road in Nassarawa and Jebba-Mokwa Road, Bida-Lapal-Lambata Road and Makera-Tegina Road in Niger State are listed for repairs. Southwest Ibillo-Isu-Epinmi-Akungba Road and Owo-Akure Road in Ondo, Ilesa-Ijebu-Ijesa Road, Ijebu-Ijesa-Ekiti S/B and Ibadan-Ile-Ife-Ilesa Road, Osun S/B-Ilesa in Osun, Ibadan-Ile-Ife-Ilesa Road in Oyo, Ijebu-Ode-Epe-Ibadan Road in Ogun and Ikorodu-Shagamu in Lagos. Southeast: Abakaliki-Oferekpe Road in Ebonyi, Nsukka-Adani-Anambra S/B Road in Enugu State, Umuokpor section of Ikot Ekpene-Aba Road in Abia and Ihiala-Orlu-Umuduru Road, Owerri-Okigwe, among others. Southsouth Ikot Ekpene-Ikot Umoessien-Abia S/B Road in Akwa Ibom, Ebiama-Yenegoa Road in Bayelsa, Auchi-Igarra-Ibillo-Ose Bridge Road and Benin-Ofosu-Shagamu Road in Edo, Ebouchichie-Gakem Road in Cross River, Benin-Asaba Dual Carriageway, Asaba-Illa-Ebu-Edo S/B Road, Igbodo, Benin-Asaba Expressway and Warrri-Sapele-Edo S/b Road in Delta State, among others. Over 45 bridges, according to the list, are slated for rehabilitation over the next three years. They include: 1. Two bridges along Sokoto-Gusau Road 2. Murtala Mohammed Bridge, Koton Karfe 3. River Ebba to Cheche Bridge. Jebba Bridge 5. 3rd Mainland Bridge. Nine Lagos Bridges and flyovers 7. Lagos Ring Road Bridge Abutment 8. Ijora 7-Up Bridge 9. Ijora-Apapa Bridge by Leventis 10. Burnt Marine Bridge.

They also include: 11. Utor Bridge 12. Niger Bridge at Onitsha/Asaba 13. Onitsha-Owerri Bridge 14. Ibagwa Bridge, Ikom Bridge 15. Itigidi, Makurdi Bridge 16. Quata Sule Bridge 17. Katsina Ala Bridge 18. Buruku Bridge 19. Abuja-Abaji Bridge Section 11 20.

Loko Owotu Bridge 21. Ibi Bridge 22. Kudzum Bridge 23. Gombe-Michika-Maraba Bridge 24. Gamboru Bridge 25. Katanko Bridge 26. Jaji Bridge 27. Borno/Adamawa State Border Bridge 28. Falani Bridge, Sumaila 29. Flyover Bridge at Silver Jubilee 30 Tambuwal Bridge.

In a paper by the research department of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Highways maintenance: Lessons from other countries, the CBN contends that the experience in developing world shows that adequate resources for highway maintenance cannot be sourced from the treasury alone.

The rules and regulations of the public administrative system do not allow for an effective and efficient management of road maintenance. Most countries have, therefore, resorted to the creation of autonomous authorities, which are given the responsibility for road maintenance. Generally, both the public and private sectors are represented on the boards, with the private sector dominating in many countries.

In almost all countries, the sources for revenue for road maintenance authority are levy on gasoline, toll gate fees, licence fees on motor vehicles, international transit fees, fees on over loaded vehicles and allocations by parliament.

It advocated for the creation of the Nigerian Road Maintenance Agency to source funding for the agency from grants, governments, organised private sector and international donors, – Toll gate collections; – Fees or services rendered by the Agency and monies accruing from road concession. These are also sources of funding in the other countries reviewed, with the exception of taxes on petroleum products in respect of the NRMA.

The grants from the Federal Government could be equated with the releases for road maintenance which totaled N470.9 million, N401.2 million, N474.5 million and N178.7 million in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, respectively. Toll gate collections, which exceeded the releases in all the years constituted the major source of funding. The other sources indicated above have not been explored. Aggregate toll gate collections were N569.29 million in 2000, N742.72 million in 2001 and N779.84 million in 2002. The collection, therefore, rose by 30.5 per cent in 2000 and by only five per cent in 2001.

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Nollywood: Committee pledges credible election for Actors Guild

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Steve Eboh, Nollywood actor and Chairman of National Electoral Committee of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), has pledged the committee’s commitment to ensure that the forthcoming election for the guild is credible.

Eboh, popularly known as Ajebo, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. According to him, the election is slated to take place at the 2019 National Convention of the AGN scheduled to hold on Oct. 30 to 31 in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom.

He explained that having passed through a leadership crisis in the recent past, it was imperative to have an election that would produce leaders that would build on the success recorded by the current executives of the guild.

“As an electoral committee, we are determined to have credible elections in Uyo, in order to build a strong, united and peaceful guild for Nigerian actors.

“We are expecting nine delegates from every state, apart from observers, because constitutionally, we operate the guild with nine executives both at the state and national levels.

“There is the office of the president and nine other positions to be contested for, including six zonal vice presidents coming from the six geo-political zones,” he explained.

Eboh, a former vice president and former chairman National Caretaker Committee of the AGN, also said that a new constitution would also be unveiled by the guild at the conference.

He noted that besides the election, the conference would present an opportunity for interaction between the actors, relevant stakeholders and their fans.

“Particularly, interactions of the stars with the public and their fans, and there would be a novelty football match also.

“There is a going to be a presentation of a documentary of what the present government of National Unity has done within the last two years.

Also, Sani Danja, ace actor and musician and member of the electoral committee, said that there was a need to have a formidable guild for Nigerian actors.

He, therefore, urged all delegates to attend the conference and participate in the forthcoming elections.

NAN recalls that after a successive factional leadership crisis, the AGN in August 2017  had a Peace and Reconciliation Conference in Awka, Anambra, in which an open election was also conducted.

Its current president, Emeka Rollas, and other executives were then elected to serve a two-year term, with the first mandate of healing the ‘wounds’ of the past and reconciling warring factions.

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Pastor’s wife catches hubby in secret wedding with another woman in Lagos

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The game of betrayals reportedly played out on Saturday in Ikotun area of Lagos between three supposed ministers of God after Pastor Olusegun Taiwo dumped his wife, Vicky, in Ogun State and secretly got engaged to another female pastor, Madam Wonder, and were eventually caught by his wife.

PM Express confirmed that the secret wedding between Pastor Olusegun Taiwo and the new wife, Pastor Wonder, took place at the Triumphant Base Global Ministry located at No. 6 Mathew Ojo Street by Whitehouse Bus Stop, off Governor’s Road, Ikotun, Lagos.

Pastor Olusegun, who lives at Ijoko area of Ogun State, arranged the wedding in Ikotun area of Lagos so that his wife would not know. But information got to his wife, she came to the wedding venue and disgraced Olusegun and his new wife, Wonder.

Pastor Olusegun was married but had separated with many wives, who had six children, before he got married to Vicky, who was also married but separated and had two children in 2011.

They went to Ikeja Marriage Registry to consummate the union, which subsists and they started a Church known as Christ Like Evangelical Mission with over N5m raised by Pastor Vicky. But the Church collapsed and Olusegun absconded from his home, where the church was located.

“When he finished my money, he absconded three years ago only to be informed that he had engaged another lady and their wedding was for today” Pastor Vicky said.

Pastor Taiwo’s game of betrayal was exposed when Pastor Vicky stormed the venue of the wedding and informed the guests that he was her legal husband and had not divorced her before engaging in another marriage with the female pastor, Wonder.

Some of the guests, who heard Pastor Vicky’s claims quickly left the venue of the wedding while Pastor Olusegun Taiwo almost collapsed when he sighted his wife at the wedding.

It was gathered that the Pastor might have convinced his new wife having assured her that he had no woman in his life before Pastor Vicky surfaced at the wedding venue.

P.M.EXPRESS gathered that Pastor Olusegun might have embarked on the new marriage after he realized that his new wife, Pastor Wonder, had many properties including a Church and was said to be partially blind probably to assist her to manage them.

It was not certain if the marriage will still stand after Pastor Olusegun’s legal wife raised alarm at the wedding venue and Pastor Wonder’s relations from Akwa Ibom State heard the shocking revelations from Pastor Vicky at the wedding venue.

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