The presidency has reacted to a Boko Haram video showing six kidnapped aid workers.
The aid workers were kidnapped last week Thursday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the video which shows the six humanitarian workers and staff of Action Against Hunger (ACF) begging the Nigerian government “to do something” about their release.
The three minutes and 17 seconds video featured a veiled female nurse who identified herself as Grace speaking on behalf of five other abducted men sitting behind her.
ACF has issued a statement confirming the six persons shown in the video as their staff. The ACF also said that the six, from their looks in the video, are in good condition of health.
The six were seen in the video sitting in front of what looked like a white tent with UNHCR inscription on it.
In its reaction, the presidency said it “has been briefed by the responsible government agency about the disturbing video showing our citizens, the humanitarian aid workers held captive.”
“Presidency has been given assurances that contact is being made and the captors are being talked to.
“Besides these aid workers, there are some others about whom this engagement is about – Leah Sharibu, a religious leader and all the others. These discussions have been ongoing even before this time and what this latest incident has done is to bring urgency to the efforts that the secret service is making.
“Government is making contacts, in the hope that the captors will see reason to not visit hardship or even harm on these innocent individuals. Government is working,” Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, said in a statement.
Only one of the victims who identified herself as Grace spoke in the video.
The full transcription of the video reads:
“My name is Grace, I work with Action Against Hunger an NGO in Borno state. My base is Damasak. We went to work on Thursday the 18th of July 2019 outside Damasak.
“On our way going back to Damasak, by Kinnari Chamba ward in Damasak we were caught by this army called the Khalifa. They brought us here and actually we don’t know where we are. But this minute, this moment I want to beg on my Christian Association of Nigeria because I am the only Christian amongst six of us here.
“I want to beg that CAN should do something about me to see how I can be released. I also want to beg Action Against Hunger in Borno State that we are six here and all of us are staffs, we went to work on our way coming back to our base that was when we were caught. I beg Action Against Hunger to know that we have families, some of us have children and I am begging Action Against Hunger that they should do something to release us.
“I also want to call on Nigeria that we are Nigerians; we are also working for Nigeria. I beg that the Nigerian government should please, and please, I am begging; do something to see that we are released because this has occurred before to this organisation, RED CROSS where some ladies were caught, Hauwa and Kabura there were told to ask to be released but because Nigeria did not act they were killed.
“I am begging on behalf of all of us here that please Nigeria should not allow such to happen to us. And it also happened again with Leah and Alice – because Nigeria could not do anything about them they were not released; they were also killed. I beg that Nigeria and our organisation Action Against Hunger should do something and see that we are released. Thank you.”
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has died, the presidency said in a statement on Thursday.
Essebsi was taken to a military hospital on Wednesday, his son said.
Hafedh Caid Essebsi said that his 92-year-old father was hospitalized after he suffered the effects of last month's crisis, confirming an earlier report on local radio.
Essebsi had been hospitalized late June and spent a week in hospital after suffering a "severe health crisis".
The president had only appeared twice after leaving the hospital on July 1.
The state news agency TAP reported that Mohamed Ennaceur, president of the Assembly of People's Representatives, took the oath of office Thursday, hours after Essebsi's death in the morning.
According to the Tunisian constitution, the parliament chief takes over for a period of 45 to 90 days if the president is incapacitated, until new elections are organized.
Ennaceur appealed for unity.
A funeral for Essebsi is planned Saturday, and the government declared seven days of mourning.
Condolences came in from other Arab countries, with several states announcing multiple days of mourning.
The independent electoral commission said the presidential election will take place on September 15 after it was scheduled on November 17.
Mr Rossello had insulted women and mocked constituents, including victims of Hurricane Maria. He had called a female politician a “whore”, referred to another as a “daughter of a b****”, and made fun of an obese man with whom he posed in a photo. He had joked about the murder of the mayor of Puerto Rican capital San Juan and had also made homophobic remarks about others.
Hundreds of thousands protested in the streets and demanded his resignation.
On Wednesday evening a crowd of thousands outside the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan erupted into cheers and singing after Mr Rossello posted a video announcement on Facebook just before midnight.
“My only priority has been the transformation of our island and the well-being of our people,” a shaken-looking Mr Rossello said in an address that listed his accomplishments before making clear he was resigning.
“I announce that I will be resigning from the governor’s post effective Friday, 2 August at 5pm,” he said.
Addressing the protests, he said: “The demands have been overwhelming and I’ve received them with the highest degree of humility.
“Despite expecting to service the term that the people democratically elected me to, today I feel that continuing in this position represents a threat to the success we have achieved.”
His eventual announcement came after a bizarre, hours-long standoff had unfolded in colonial Old San Juan.
The governor had earlier in the day pledged to deliver a message to the people of Puerto Rico, but then hour after hour passed in unexplained silence while thousands of protesters chanted demands for his resignation.
A statement was first expected at 5pm, but finally came in the form of a video address less than a half-hour before midnight.
The 40-year-old son of a former governor, Mr Rossello has become the first chief executive to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a US territory of more than three million American citizens without full representation in Congress or the right to vote for president.
On Tuesday, it was announced a Puerto Rico judge had issued search warrants for the mobile phones of government officials involved in the chat as part of an investigation.
One of the search warrants said officials had used the chat to transmit official and confidential information to private citizens in potential violation of ethics laws.
More than a dozen government officials have resigned since the chat was leaked earlier this month, including Mr Rossello’s confidant and chief of staff Ricardo Llerandi, former secretary of state Luis Rivera Marin and former chief financial officer Christian Sobrino, who also held five other positions.
The obscenity-laced online messages involving the governor and 11 other men infuriated Puerto Ricans already frustrated with corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis and the sluggish recovery from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.
In reaction, tens of thousands took to the streets to demand Mr Rossello’s resignation in Puerto Rico’s biggest demonstrations since the protests that put an end to US Navy training on the island of Vieques more than 15 years ago.
Over the weekend, Mr Rossello posted a Facebook video in which he offered to resign as leader of his pro-statehood political party and not to seek re-election in 2020, but he did not offer to resign.
His refusal to stand down despite the publication of the chat messages added fuel to the frustration of angry Puerto Ricans, and led to a colossal demonstration on Monday on one of San Juan’s biggest roads.
Puerto Rico’s justice secretary, Wanda Vazquez Garced, will assume the post less than halfway through Mr Rossello’s four-year term, becoming Puerto Rico’s second female governor.
Brussels has roundly rebuffed Boris Johnson after he laid down tough conditions for the new Brexit deal he hopes to strike over the summer.
Speaking to the House of Commons for the first time as prime minister on Thursday, Johnson reiterated his campaign pledge of ditching the Irish backstop and promised to ramp up preparations for a no-deal Brexitimmediately.
“I would prefer us to leave the EU with a deal,” he said. “I would much prefer it. I believe that it is possible even at this late stage, and I will work flat-out to make it happen.
“But certain things need to be clear: the withdrawal agreement negotiated by my predecessor has been three times rejected by this house; its terms are unacceptable to this parliament and to this country.”
In a phone call later in the day, the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, signalled the EU27’s determination to stick with the dealnegotiated with Theresa May’s government – which includes the backstop.
“President Juncker listened to what Prime Minister Johnson had to say, reiterating the EU’s position that the withdrawal agreement is the best and only agreement possible – in line with the European council guidelines,” a commission spokesperson said.
Juncker told Johnson the EU was willing to “add language” to the political declaration – the non-binding document that covers the future relationship – but would only consider any other proposals “providing they are compatible with the withdrawal agreement”. The spokesperson added that the two men had swapped mobile numbers.
Earlier, Johnson outlined to a noisy Commons his vision of a post-Brexit UK in 2050 as “the greatest and most prosperous economy in Europe at the centre of a new network of trade deals”.
In a speech that was loudly cheered by many Conservative MPs, he said all members of his new cabinet were committed to leaving the EU on 31 October “whatever the circumstances – and to do otherwise would cause a catastrophic loss of confidence in our political system”.
He also said he would ramp up no-deal preparations, which his official spokesman later confirmed was likely to include additional spending, and a significant public information campaign. Michael Gove will coordinate no-deal planning across the government.
The Irish government expressed concern at Johnson’s approach to Brexit as tension began to mount over the increased risk of no deal. Michael Creed, Ireland’s agriculture minister, described the new government’s stance, and the composition of Johnson’s top team, as “alarming”.
“The makeup of this government seems to be a mirror image of [Johnson’s] own viewpoint substantially and obviously that would be of concern to us,” he told RTÉ radio.
“What the [Irish] government is concerned about now is the approach of new administration in the UK to the withdrawal agreement,” he said, adding: “Obviously what we are hearing from the [UK] government is quite alarming.”
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has arrested Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira on allegations of corruption.
A senior ZACC official told Xinhua Thursday morning that Mupfumira was currently being interviewed at the commission’s offices.
ZACC was recently granted arresting powers through a Statutory Instrument.
“Yes, we have picked her up. We are currently interviewing her, but she is not going back home,” the source said.
The corruption allegations emanate from an audit report on the National Social Security Authority which reportedly unearthed various financial transgressions at the institution.
She becomes the first Cabinet minister to be arrested on corruption charges since President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed the current team in 2018.
The state-run Herald newspaper also confirmed the news by Twitter.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have moved up 12 spots in the July FIFA ranking, to place 33rd in the world after winning bronze at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
In the ranking table released by the world football governing body on Thursday, Nigeria garnered 1, 481 points as against 1, 433 it had in June to place 45th.
The movement has now placed Nigeria as the third in Africa behind Senegal and Tunisia, who are 20th and 29th in the world, respectively.
African champions Algeria (40th, up 28) are the biggest mover in the July edition by ranks and points (up 117), while fellow finalists, Senegal (20th, up 2) did not make a huge leap but reached their best-ever ranking position.
AFCON surprise quarter-finalists, Madagascar (96th, up 12) and Benin (82nd, up 6) saw their continental performances rewarded with a ranking rise.
Popular Lagos pastor and founder of the Livingspring Chapel International church in Lagos, Femi Emmanuel, has warned parents to stop seeing their children as their social security for their old age.
According to the pastor, the days of having children hoping that they will feed and take care of you in your old age are over as some children now cannot even feed themselves.
The pastor stated this while preaching in his church recently.
Preaching, he said
The days of using your children as social security are over. That when they grow they would now be feeding me...Ah...they have not fed themselves. Those days are over. You better labour for what you will live on till the end of your life. You better set yourself right now. You better establish an outfit. You better build your life in such a way that if any child brings anything in your old age, the child brought it to receive blessing and not because you are hungry.
Watch a video of his saying this below
Ahmed Kuru, managing director of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, says it is worrying that the chronic debtors that are behind the over N5trillion debt burden are ministers and members of the national assembly.
Speaking on Wednesday at the July 2019 edition of the Breakfast Meeting, organised by the Nigerian–American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Kuru said the corporation is making plans to produce a full-length television documentary of notorious debtors.
The AMCON MD said the idea was to document in a permanent format for generations yet unborn to know the so-called big men and women that are behind the over N5trillion debt burden, which AMCON is battling to recover.
The worrisome aspect of the issue, he said, unlike what happens in other clime is that these obligors still manipulate their way to emerge as members of the national assembly, ministers, chairmen and women of big organisations and pro-chancellors of universities.
“Sadly, these are the calibre of people we respect in Nigeria but these people are not role models. How can you be a role model when you cannot honour a simple obligation?” he said.
That is why I have been consistent in the call for the return of the failed bank act. The way we are handling the issue in the country suggests that we are encouraging a lot of financial rascalities.
“These are men and women who go to banks borrow monies with no intention to pay and in the process bring down banking institutions. It takes a lot for a bank to fail. AMCON just rescued Skye Bank with an investment of nearly N1 trillion.
“As AMCON, we have no power to arrest these ‘powerful’ people as we depend largely on judicial processes to recover and we all know the slow pace of judicial processes. We now want to go a step further by working with the ICPC and the EFCC, which will enable us to go investigate the credit processes.”
Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth, and Advancement also known as YIAGA Africa has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for not finding any youth below 35 worthy of being appointed a minister.
In a statement, the director of the group, Samson Itodo, flayed the omission despite the recent emergence of youths as speakers in some state houses of assembly. Oyo, Zamfara, Kwara and Plateau have all elected speakers below 35.
To YIAGA, these are proofs that youths are ready for ministerial positions.
“The conspicuous absence of young people under the age of 35 in the ministerial nominees read by Senate President Ahmed Lawan as sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari has to come us and the entire Nigerian youths as a Big Surprise.
“It is indeed disappointing to see that despite the giant strides made my young people especially in the area of politics and leadership, President Muhammadu Buhari has not seen any person below the age of 35 worthy of any ministerial position.
“Despite publicly proclaiming that young people of Nigeria are now set to leave their mark on the political space, just as they have done over the decades in entrepreneurship, sports, art, media entertainment, technology, and several other fields, we are surprised that President Muhammadu Buhari did not consider young people in his cabinet,” the statement read in part.
The group noted that since all Buhari’s ministerial nominees are above 50, it means the minister of youth and sports will not be a youth.
YIAGA said this is because “none of the nominees is under the age 35 not to talk of the new National youth policy which classifies youth between 15 and 29 years old.
“This is in contrast with the faith President Buhari showed to young people when he signed the Not Too Young To Run bill into law.”
“Similarly, young people have emerged in various principal positions in their state houses of assembly.
“This is no doubt a huge result achieved within a short time and no doubt should have ensured young people staked a claim for ministerial slots in the cabinet list released on Tuesday.”
The election agent assigned by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to polling unit no 019 located in Gama ward, Balarabe Garba , was on Thursday barred from giving evidence at the ongoing Kano Governorship Election trial.
Balarabe, who appeared before the court led by Barrister Abiodun Jelili Owonikoko received vehement objection from the respondents, who told the court that the witness is not qualified to testify on the outcome of the election in one of the polling units in Gama ward.
Counsel to INEC, Barrister Adedayo Adedeji told the court that the witness, Balarabe swore to a statement on oath, although his name is not on the list of witnesses that were enlisted to give evidence before the court, urging the court refrain from allowing the witness to testify before it.
Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje through his counsel, Barrister Offiong Offiong(SAN) adopted the submission made by counsel to INEC, he said the witness from Gama ward, Nassarawa Local Government, is not qualified to give testimony on the outcome of the governorship elections held on 9th and 23rd march, 2019.
Responding, the counsel representing PDP, Barrister Abiodun Jelili Owonikoko said that, at that stage, the petitioners cannot verify, if the name of the witness is listed on the list or the contrary, he then prays to withdraw the witness from giving evidence.
Owonikoko further prayed the court to adjourn the matter, stating that the petitioners would require time to sought some hitches.
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The tribunal chairman, Justice Halima Shamaki granted the request made by the petitioners, she ordered the matter adjourned to July 27 for continuation.
Earlier, one Mohammed Hassan a resident of Gama quarters gave evidence before the court, he told the court that he served as a PDP agent during the 2019 Kano governorship elections.
Mohammed told the tribunal that the 9th March 2019 gubernatorial elections was free and fair, adding that, he signed the results sheet, on the behalf of the petitioners.
Speaking under cross-examination, he said the 23rd march 2019 governorship elections held in Kano was marred with violence, noting that the development compelled him to abstain from signing the result sheets.