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Two unemployed men, Sheyi Ajayi and Ismaila Olalekan, who allegedly stole seven goats, on Thursday appeared before an Ejigbo Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State.

Ajayi, 29, and Olalekan, 27, are standing trial on a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and breach of the peace.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty.

According to the prosecutor, Insp. N. Simon, the duo and two others at large committed the offences on Nov. 11, at 3:00 a.m. in Ijeododo community of Lagos State.

Simon said that the defendants conspired and stole seven goats belonging to different people, in contravention of Sections 168 (d), 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Magistrate, Mrs A. S. Okubule, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N50,000 with one surety each.

She ordered that the surety must be a blood relation of the defendant and gainfully employed.

She adjourned the case until Dec. 14 for mention.


Last modified on Saturday, 21 November 2020 07:11

Cable News Network, CNN has reacted to the threat of sanctions from the Federal Government, insisting that it stands by its report.

It said its report was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses and verified footage of soldiers appearing to shoot in direction of protesters.

A statement by its spokesperson read, “our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed had in a press conference earlier on Thursday called for sanctions to be placed on CNN for the report, maintaining that the military fired blank bullets at the Toll Gate and not even at protesters but into the air.

Watch the video below;


Last modified on Thursday, 19 November 2020 18:13

Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has reacted to the threat by the Nigerian government to sanction CNN.

The threat was issued by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in reaction to a report by CNN on the alleged Lekki shooting of EndSARS protesters.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Lai Mohammed said:

“Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going round, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.

“CNN engaged in incredible sensationalism and did a great disservice to itself and to journalism.

“In the first instance, CNN, which touted its report as an exclusive investigative report, sadly relied on the same videos that have been circulating on social media, without verification.

“This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that.”

Reacting to the minister’s statement, Ezekwesili described it as comedic.

“Sanction CNN *laughs* But then again, it is not even funny because it is too serious a matter to allow for this comedy.

“What’s really the point of the ‘Independent’ Panels of Inquiry if the @NigeriaGov @FMICNigeria have already closed their minds to information based on evidence?” she tweeted.

Last modified on Friday, 20 November 2020 08:42

A popular televangelist and the head Genesis Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ, Alagbado, Lagos, Isreal Ogundipe, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment by an Ikeja High Court for unlawfully converting a woman’s property and stealing.

Ogundipe, who has been on trial since 2011, was charged with seven-counts of obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretenses, unlawful conversion of property and forgery.

Delivering the judgement in the matter Thursday, Justice Olabisi Akinlade found Ogundipe guilty of two out of the seven count charge brought against him by the state and sentenced him to one year imprisonment on each of the count.

He would however spend one year in prison as the sentence will run concurrently.

The court found the prophet not guilty of five-counts of stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretenses, giving false information to a public officer forgery.

Justice Akinlade ordered the convict to make restitution of N11million to the complainant, a London-based architect, Mrs. Oladele Williams-Oni on counts two and four.

Lead prosecuting counsel, Mrs. Rotimi Odutola, thanked the court for ”a well-considered judgment.”

According to the prosecution, Ogundipe committed between August 30, 2002 and 2005.

He was alleged to have fraudulently obtained N14million and £12,000 in several tranches from the complainant.

The convict was also said to have between August 30, 2002 and December 2003, at No. 32, Bello St., Ladipo Estate, Shogunle, Lagos allegedly collected N2.9million from Williams-Oni to purchase an uncompleted building for her but fraudulently converted the money to his own use.

The prosecution said that between March and December 2003 at Commint Bereau De Change, Broad Street, Lagos, the convict allegedly stole 12,000 British pounds from the complainant which was meant for the purchase of four plots of land for building a mosque.

He is alleged to have stolen N8.5million between October 2002 and March 2003 from Williams-Oni for the purchase of landed properties in Lagos,” Odutola said.

The prosecution also said that on diverse days between 2002 and 2003 he had received N2.6million from the complainant by falsely representing to her that he is man of God and that the money is to be used for his church.

The convict was also alleged to have forged a Nigerian International Passport which carried his photo in the name Sanyaolu Babatunde Solomon at the Passport Office located at Oba Akinjobi St., Ikeja, Lagos,” Odutola said.

According to the prosecution, the offences contravenes Sections 390(9), 419 and 467(1)(b) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos 2003.

A former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has described former President Goodluck Jonathan as an epitome of selfless leadership.

Ekweremadu, in a tribute to the ex-president as he marks his 63rd birthday Friday, hailed Jonathan for his democratic temperament and selfless leadership.


He commended the former president for not only the electoral reforms recorded under his administration, but also for providing the right democratic atmosphere to ensure that the reforms were implemented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant agencies and stakeholders.

“Jonathan’s democratic temperament was indeed a facilitator and great boost to the millage we covered in reforming the nation’s electoral system, especially in the 6th National Assembly.

“Importantly, he equally provided the democratic atmosphere that allowed the INEC to be truly independent in managing elections and implementing the array of reforms under his administration without minding how it affected his party or his personal political aspirations,” the lawmaker, who chaired the Constitution Amendment Committee that piloted the electoral reforms, said.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment also hailed Jonathan for his sense of justice, noting that history would continue to remember him as a president who saw the entire country as his constituency.

According to him, “On His Excellency’s 63rd birthday, therefore, I salute him for his sense of justice, his sense of equity, and for being a true father of the whole nation, and a selfless leader, who placed the welfare, peace, and unity of the nation above his personal ambitions and interests.”

The ranking senator prayed God to grant the ex-president more fruitful years and sound health to continue to contribute to the efforts to restore the nation to the pinnacle of glory.

Last modified on Friday, 20 November 2020 08:42

….Says restriction on Okada riders from plying bridges, major highways still in force

...Traffic offenders will face the maximum penalty, says Transport Commissioner 


Following the flagrant violation of the traffic laws and other anomalies on the roads, Lagos State Government on Thursday read the riot act to motorcycle and tricycle operators, noting that the restriction on them from plying 10 major highways, 40 bridges and roads within six local governments and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the State is still in force. 


The State Government also expressed government’s displeasure at the disobedience to the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018 which restricts the operations of commercial motorcycles riders known as Okada and driving against traffic, known as one way driving.  


Speaking during a press conference held at Alausa in Ikeja on traffic rules violation, Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the game is over for traffic offenders, especially the menace and impunity of commercial motorcycles and tricycles' operators in the State. 


The Commissioner said all commercial transport operators must carry out their daily activities within the approved routes in Lagos State, adding that any motorist caught driving against traffic will face the maximum penalty and will equally be charged to the court of law under the transport sector reform law of Lagos 2018. 


He said: “Our Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has since his assumption of office prioritized his administration’s development agenda encapsulated as THEMES. The T stands for Traffic Management and Transportation.  In the last one and a half years, Mr. Governor has demonstrated his affirmed commitment to our roads, reform complex junctions to promote better traffic flow, invested in water and land transportation through the provision of ferries and high capacity buses. 


“In spite of all the efforts of Mr. Governor to reform our transport sector, it is therefore disheartening to note a lot of our people are still going against the extant law of the state on transport operation and safe driving on our roads and in our communities. The State Government prioritises the safety and security of the people. As a government, we cannot continue to watch this lawlessness develop into an uncontrollable situation. 


“I say the game is over because in the last few months, we have witnessed a lot of security and safety challenges apparently as a result of the activities of unscrupulous ‘Okada riders.’ These operators do not only violate the provisions of the Transport Sector Reform Law of Lagos State, 2018 with respect to restriction of areas of operations, but perpetrate crime using their motorcycles.” 


Oladeinde while stressing the need for sanity on the roads within Lagos, said the restriction of motorcycles on certain routes in Lagos State is still in force and failure to comply with the law will attract sanctions as stipulated in the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018, with penalties ranging from N20, 000 to three months imprisonment.



He said: “In line with this Administration’s plan to build Lagos that works for all, we are determined to continue to engage with the various transport unions and associations of tricycle and okada operator to ensure their members cooperate with us in the process of ensuring public safety by abiding with the TSRL 2018 at all time. 


“With the upsurge in the number of commercial motorcycle operators, we shall intensify our enforcement strategy. This we intend to carry out along with the various transport union leaders. We will set up a joint enforcement team to ensure that our roads are sanitised from the menace of okada riders. 


“We hereby direct all law enforcement agencies; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Taskforce and the Nigerian Police to immediately and continuously embark on enforcement on all restricted routes." 


The Commissioner also urged the media to do more by enlightening drivers on the danger of one way driving. "Obedience to the law was paramount if we must build a state of our dreams. We all have joint responsibilities to make the state work for all," he said. 


Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, implored all road users, especially commercial transport operators to be law abiding. 


He urged transport unions to wake up and caution their members who flout traffic rules, saying the government had directed law enforcement agencies to clampdown on them. 


The Deputy Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Sulyman Ojora, during the press conference assured Lagos State Government of the support and cooperation of the union in ensuring that traffic offenders are brought to book. 


He also advised law enforcement agencies not to trouble the law abiding members of the union, saying that NURTW members are law abiding and they are fully ready to discipline any members whenever they violate any traffic laws. 


Also speaking, the representative of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Ayinde Runmokun said that most erring riders were alien to the union, saying that the union was concerned about flagrant disregard of law by some motorists and riders. 


He also urged the government to carry the transport union along in the constitution of the task force for the enforcement of the law.





NOVEMBER 19, 2020

Last modified on Friday, 20 November 2020 08:42

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, on Thursday, says the union is losing its members to private universities due to the inability of the Federal Government to meet its demands.

Ogunyemi, who spoke while featuring on a television programme in Abuja today, also said the government cannot threaten the university lecturers with court action.

He said, “Talking about options, whether they want to go to court and intimidate the union to surrender. You don’t do that with scholars, no country has ever survived it because we have options too.

“We talk about brain-drain now, I can tell you authoritatively that within the last two months, 25 scholars in the North-East have been harvested by this university in Yola. We know the owner. That is how it is happening, the private universities are poaching the public universities now because they can only thrive when the public universities crumble.

“We are also aware that some few months back, Ethiopia came to Nigeria, and harvested as many as 200 professors and they are still looking for more. I don’t know if the government wants their appointees to start teaching the students. Of course, many of them don’t have their children in public universities, that is why they cannot feel it. Our scholars are our national assets and we should not allow them to be decimated.”

Speaking further, the ASUU president said the union would resist any attempt by the Federal Government to elongate the process of the integrity test being conducted on the software of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution proposed by the union.

Ogunyemi also said contrary to a statement credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Tuesday, the integrity test being conducted on UTAS would take one week if the government “is conscientious about the process”.

The PUNCH had reported that the minister on Tuesday told State House correspondents after a meeting he had with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency was conducting the integrity test on the software and it would take between six and eight weeks to be completed.

But reacting on Thursday in the television programme, the ASUU president said, “On UTAS, I want to say that this thing about six, eight weeks is unfounded. I want to tell you categorically is if the government is sincere and conscientious about the process in motion now, within one week, we can put the integrity test behind us.”

“As at yesterday (Wednesday), we did a practical demonstration with more than 30 experts in NITDA, UTAS was demonstrated at NITDA yesterday and none of the experts faulted it. And with that, we are good to go.


“UTAS has no problem, UTAS has no blemish, UTAS is far higher in integrity, content and validity over the IPPIS. There is no basis for comparison. So, let no government official, no matter how highly placed slow down the process, otherwise, our members will resist it with all legitimate means,” Ogunyemi noted.


ASUU is currently on strike in protest against the Federal Government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System used in settling workers salaries by the FG and instead, developed the UTAS which is currently undergoing test-run by NITDA.

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union had also proposed the University General and Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System in place of the IPPIS.

Their action followed the complaints against the IPPIS which allegedly caused salary delays and shortchanged the university workers.

The government said it had agreed to pay N30 billion Earned Academic Allowance, N20b for the revitalisation of the education sector and the arrears of salaries to the university teachers, adding that the only outstanding issue was the disagreement over the payment platform.

But ASUU insisted that the government has not met its demands, noting that the resolution of the eight-month strike was not in sight.

The Federal Government has, however, said it would resume meeting with ASUU on Friday.

The parley is expected to address various pending issues, including the contentious payment platform preferred by the union.

The saying that a prophet is not appreciated at home may well be referring to former Ghanaian president, Jerry Rawlings, who died last Thursday from COVID-19 related complications, three weeks after his mother was buried.

Ghana is in seven days of mourning, but Nigeria is crying more than the bereaved. Among Nigeria’s political elite, there has been a “condolence contest.” And among the wider public, the outpouring of grief and tribute on social media makes Ghana look like Rawlings’ distant second home.

Rawlings’ life was a big deal in Nigeria. A very big deal.

He was a regular presence in lecture circuits. He was particularly loved by left-leaning Nigerian students and radical politicians.

He was also popular among blue-collar workers, who would have been pleased to join his army for life at short notice.

After decades of widespread corruption – just as rampant in military as it is in civilian rule, popular public imagination still extols the “Rawlings treatment” as the only practical solution: that is, public execution of anyone found or perceived to be corrupt.

Of course, Nigerians saw horrific spectacles of executions back in the day when armed robbers or coup plotters were tied to the stake and publicly executed at a famous Lagos seashore called the Bar Beach.

But that blood sport, that grim “Bar Beach show,” was mainly for armed robbers or coup plotters, sparking criticisms that while factions of Nigeria’s ruling elite were shooting small fry and settling personal scores against rival officers, Rawlings went for the jugular by executing the big fry, the real promoters and profiteers from corruption among the political class.

On his passing last week, one Nigerian tweet mourned Rawlings as “a true son of Africa; a fallen Iroko tree.”

Others hailed his tireless effort to clean up Ghana’s public life, his spartan lifestyle and patriotism and his exemplary, down-to-earth politics.

Perhaps it was that redeeming act that Nigerians really admired about Rawlings: his courage, his patriotism, his charm, his willingness to slay any dragon whatever its size, and more importantly, the strength of his conviction

Yet, it would appear that the single biggest reason why Nigerians loved Rawlings was his effrontery, the revolutionary zeal with which he fought the war against corruption in Ghana – a crusade in which his government executed three former heads of state and three judges, exiled many perceived enemies and left the press with a bloody nose.

Nigeria’s history has its own bloody pages, too.

Part of what led to the civil war was the first military coup in 1966 purportedly targeted at a “corrupt” political elite. Revenge killings followed and the result was a civil war that cost nearly two million lives.

A slew of military coups and counter-coups – all purporting to rid Nigeria of corruption, waste and mismanagement – piled on each other, without real evidence of progress in the fight against corruption, a malaise estimated by the World Bank to cost countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Venezuela $1trillion per year or 12 percent of GDP.

Curiously, the same heavy-handed – even bloody – tactics for which Nigerians love Rawlings is strongly resented in at least two of its own leaders who, like Rawlings, also morphed from “khaki to kente.”

When President Olusegun Obasanjo first ran for office as civilian president his appalling conversion of Ita Oko (an Island on the outskirts of Lagos into a black site), a mini forerunner of Guantanamo and his iron-fist in quelling student’s protests (not to mention his onslaughts on musical icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti) were cited as transgressions for which human rights groups in the country demanded apology and even restitution.

For President Muhammadu Buhari, it was even worse.

The military decrees on his watch that imperiled press freedom and under which two journalists were jailed; the long and harsh prison sentences meted out to politicians by hastily constituted tribunals; and the popularisation of corporal punishment, were among the long list of grievances held against Buhari each of the four times he contested for the presidency.

His explanation that he had become a “reformed democrat” fell on deaf ears.

In 2015, his campaign team had to dress him up in an assortment of costumes including fancy bow-ties and corporate suits, to make him look truly the reformed part.

To date, Buhari is still taunted over the occasional appearance of his military reflexes.

Some families whose patriarchs he handed long jail sentences, blame him for the premature deaths of their loved ones.

It would appear that the single biggest reason why Nigerians loved Rawlings was his effrontery, the revolutionary zeal with which he fought the war against corruption in Ghana – a crusade in which his government executed three former heads of state and three judges, exiled many perceived enemies and left the press with a bloody nose

The deployment of soldiers who shot at unarmed protesters during the recent #ENDSARS protests has also been canvassed as lingering proof that the spots of the Buhari leopard remain intact.

It’s doubtful, however, if any Nigerian leader would do anything close to what Rawlings did, especially in his first coming, and get away with it.

The only man who tried – General Sani Abacha – did not live to tell the story. Military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, who executed a variety of authoritarian rule in velvet clothing, only managed to escape by the skin of his teeth.

Yet, Nigerians extol Rawlings who executed former heads of state and judges among other draconian remedies, and also swear that nothing short of the “Rawlings treatment” will save the country.

Apart from Samuel Doe’s violent overthrow of William R. Tolbert’s government in Liberia in 1980 and the public execution of Tolbert’s cabinet members applauded by cheering crowds who lived to regret it, and the Red Terror in Ethiopia following the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie, Rawlings’ Ghana stands up there in the pecking order of horrific public executions of high-profile officers on the continent after a military takeover.

So, what is it about Rawlings that Nigerians swoon over? His charisma? Charismatic leaders make our hearts beat a little faster.

They send our blood racing, especially if their candles were blown out prematurely – like General Murtala Mohammed or Captain Thomas Sankara.

But Robespierre and Hitler were also charismatic leaders.

What was it in Rawlings then that Nigerians adored?

Why was it that even if he had killed 10 people when he was alive, Nigerians seem prepared to say, “Thank God, it was not 11”?

Leading columnist and chairman of the Editorial Board of the Abuja-based Daily Trust, Mahmud Jega, told me, “Africans appreciate strong, vibrant, forceful leadership. They love leaders who are passionate, anti-colonial and yet, with the common touch.”

It’s doubtful, however, if any Nigerian leader would do anything close to what Rawlings did, especially in his first coming, and get away with it

That description fetched the image of Rawlings stopping his convoy to pick up stranded passengers along the way.

There is also the viral video of him getting out of his car in a traffic jam in Accra to take charge with rapturous commuters chanting, “Papa J! Papa J!!”

Or his confession that he didn’t have a foreign account for all the years he was in government, until a few years ago when former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan, asked him to open one.

Jega admitted that even though Rawlings’ first coming was “one of the most traumatic on the continent”, his subsequent record as two-term civilian leader made up for his earlier flaws.

“He is, in a fundamental way, the father of modern Ghana,” he said.

Perhaps it was that redeeming act that Nigerians really admired about Rawlings: his courage, his patriotism, his charm, his willingness to slay any dragon whatever its size, and more importantly, the strength of his conviction.

Yet, there are Ghanaians who still ask, at what price – a question their Nigerian neighbours might conveniently overlook.

As the news of Rawlings’ death was breaking, social media was drowning in emotional tributes and rejoinders by hurting family and friends of those Rawlings had either executed, jailed or exiled.

The common theme was Rawlings refusal, to the very end, to tender public apology or give any indication of remorse for the killings.

Others went farther.

They acknowledged that even though significant progress was made in the Rawlings years to rebuild hope and confidence, after 20 years in government, his legacy was also infected by the same demon of corruption for which he condemned and excoriated his predecessors.

Economic imperatives forced Rawlings to get in bed with the World Bank and IMF, the neocolonial titans he derided in his early days. He also privatised state-owned enterprises.

One of the ugly fallouts of the privatisation was the credible allegation that his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang, used a company in which she was chairman to buy a privatised food cannery with instalmental cheques.

The party that Rawlings founded, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), currently in opposition, has also not covered itself in glory, with the €5million Airbus bribe scandal under President John Mahama being one of the more famous shameful episodes.

“Others were shot for less,” Kofi Coomson, publisher of The Ghanaian Chronicle, told me, as he reeled off the former president’s complicated legacy.

That’s not what Rawlingsters in Nigeria want to hear.

A Surulere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State on Thursday remanded a 43-year-old man, Ifeanyi Ndieze, who allegedly defiled a three-year-old girl in a church.

The court could not take the plea of the defendant as the Magistrate, Mrs M. I. Dan-Oni, said she needed advice from the state Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

She ordered that the defendant should be kept at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre pending the advice, and directed the prosecutor to duplicate the case file and forward a copy to the DPP.

Dan-Oni adjourned the case until Dec. 2 for mention.

The defendant, who resides at Karimu Street, Surulere, is facing a charge of defilement.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Sgt. Courage Ekhueorohan, told the court that the defendant committed the alleged offence on Oct. 29 at 8:00p.m at No. 18, Salau St., Surulere.

Ekhueorohan said that the defendant saw the toddler in a church and inserted his fingers in her private part in the guise of playing with her.

The prosecutor submitted that the defendant was arrested after the toddler told her mother what he did.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that defilement contravenes Section 135 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said that the story being told by popular disc jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, professionally called DJ Switch is fake news.

Lai Mohammed lamented that celebrities used their social media handles to purvey fake news during the #EndSARS protest and that the government would not let the trend continue.

The minister attacked DJ Switch, saying she was one purveyor of fake news during the #EndSars protest as she claimed she had authentic evidence of mass killings.

Mohammed said instead of her to present evidence, she chose to escape from the country on claims that her life was in danger.

The minister reiterated that the army has said they never sought after her and that he knew the police never declared her wanted.

Mohammed questioned DJ Switch’s motive, saying she has become a suspect. “Her conduct thus becomes suspecting. Who is she fronting for? What is her real motive? Who are her sponsors? He asked.

He asked why she is not presenting evidence she has to the panel, saying that she was desperate for asylum in another country.

“If she was so desperate for asylum in any country, does she have to resort to blatant falsehood to tarnish the image of the country just to achieve her aim? In the fullness of time, this lady will be exposed for what she is, a fraud and a front for divisive and destructive forces.

“At this juncture, we want to appeal to countries that have made hasty judgement on the basis of fake news and disinformation emanating from the EndSARS crisis to endeavour to seek and find the truth,” he said.