Osinbajo lauds Nigerian girls’ victory at World Technovation Pitch

Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has congratulated the young Nigerian ladies, who won the 2018 Technovation World Pitch in California, USA.

Osinbajo’s posted this on his Twitter handle @ProfOsinbajo on Friday.

He tweeted: “These young ladies in Junior Secondary School developed a mobile application called ‘FD Detector’ to tackle the problems of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.

“Yesterday, they won the 2018 Technovation World Pitch in California. Congratulations.  We are proud of you.”

The five girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra State, South East Nigeria, represented Nigeria and Africa, at the World Technovation Challenge in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, US, and won the contest.

The team, led by Uchenna Onwuamaegbu Ugwu defeated representatives of other countries to win the pitch.

The young ladies from Nigeria also included Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye.


DSS bows to pressure, arraigns journalist detained since 2016

The Department of State Services, DSS, yesterday arraigned Jones Abiri, a journalist who has been in its custody since 2016, at a magistrate court in Abuja.
Abiri, publisher of the Weekly Source, a newspaper based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, was picked up by agents of the DSS on the allegation that he is the leader of joint revolutionary council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, a separatist group.
He was accused of bombing oil pipelines, planning attacks on Abuja, and sending threat to international oil companies and also demanding money from them.
There has been pressure on the government and the DSS to either release or charge Abiri to court.
Yesterday, the journalist was arraigned for the first time since he was arrested and was granted bail in the sum of N2 million.
Abiri was asked to produce two civil servants resident in Abuja to stand as his sureties.
They are not to be less than grade level 15 officials and they will have to deposit their original appointment letters with the court.
But Marshal Abubakar, counsel to Abiri, informed the court of their application to vary the bail condition.
Abubakar argued that his client should be granted on self-recognition because he is a journalist.
“We now informed the court that our parties in this suit cannot meet the bail conditions. There is an application to vary the conditions,” he said.
“We said the first defendant Mr Jones Abiri is a journalist who has practiced his journalism in Bayelsa State. So the court now adjourned for the hearing of our application to allow Mr Jones Abiri goes on self-recognizance.”
Thereafter, Chukwuemeka Nweke, the magistrate, fixed August 8 to hear the application.
He also fixed August 16 for the commencement of Abiri’s

FG orders 48 coaches for Abuja Light Rail

The federal government says it has placed an order of 48 train coaches for full operation of the Abuja Light rail project.
The minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Thursday during a tour of the project from Airport terminal to Idu Sub Station to Abuja metro station at the Central Business District.
The tour was a continuation of the nationwide tour of federal government projects across the country, which started in May this year with the Lagos –Ibadan standard gauge rail, which is the first leg of the Lagos- Kano standard gauge rail way.
This was followed by inspection of the erosion and flood control project in Osogbo Osun state; the dualization of Ogbomosho-Osogbo road project ; the Enugu-PH express way and second Niger bridge, among others.
The minister also stated that the federal government has set up N199 billion Infrastructure Development Fund to address the challenge of infrastructure deficit in the country.
According to the minister, government is also working to improve other sea ports in the country to decongest the notorious Apapa port.
‘‘We have just concluded a part of the Abuja Light rail project. Commercial operations have started. We have placed order for 48 coaches, which we are expecting to arrive soon to compliment the three coaches now in operation.
‘‘We are laying foundation for enduring infrastructure for generations unborn. This has left the opposition to resort to hate speech and fake news. We have joined the League of Nations in smart rail transportation,’’ he said.
As part of its commitment to close the infrastructure gap in the country, the minister stated that federal government had set up N199 billion Infrastructure Development Fund for special intervention.
The fund, according to him, would be used to fund critical infrastructure across the country without necessarily relying on the annual budgetary provisions.
‘‘This government has shown the political will, commitment to change the infrastructural decay it met on ground. One thing this government has been able to succeed in doing is setting up Infrastructure Development Fund, IDF. This is adequate provisions made by government to avoid the mistake of the past, where critical projects were starved of funds due to lack of adequate provisions. We are also working to improve other sea ports in the country.
‘‘The important thing for this administration is to continue with what we met on ground. We could have abandoned all the projects we met. But we said no. our philosophy is to build an enduring infrastructure legacy that will outlive this generation,” he stated.
On the affordability of the service, Alh. Mohammed said, ‘‘what we are doing is to test run the system. No fee is being charged for the next couple of months until we perfect the system.
‘‘Today, we are subsidizing passengers’ movements on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line by 50 percent. The idea is to create the enabling environment. We do not run it because we want to recoup the money spent but because we know it is a tool for growth.
‘‘I can assure you that whenever we start full commercial operation, it will be cheaper compared to any other form of transportation by road, air and water. It also going to be more efficient, safer and more effective.’’
Speaking on the project, the FCT Secretary for Transport, Mr. kayoed Opeifa said government has commenced full commercial operation on the project.
Of the six lots in the whole project, he said only two have been completed, while work is about to commence in lot 1B, while the remaining lots would be run on public private partnership for efficiency.
The 45 kilometer rail project comprises 13 bridges; 15 flyovers; training school; office; Lounge; parking bay; Operation Control Centre, four 460 KVA generators; food court, meeting rooms ; 21 buildings; survelance, signal and control centre among others.
On local content, the Chief Resident Engineer of the project, Engr. Anthony Agbakoba said the project has more than 95% local content, comprising about 120 Chinese expatriates and 5000-10000 Nigerians since the commencement of the project in 2009.
He said the $823 million project is meant to offer Nigerians and Abuja residents in particular, a seamless rail transportation system, the first of its kind in Nigeria and the whole of West African sub-region.
He explained that the present administration took over the project at 56% in 2015 before the recent completion and commissioning of Lot 1 A and Lot 3 last week in just 18 months after eight years of delay by the previous administration.
‘‘We intend to build capacity of Nigerians. A lot of people have been trained abroad. From what we have seen, Nigerians can make things work. beyond, the 5000-10000 so far employed, the facility in we have in place can employ over 100,000 people when completed.’’
According to him, the routes that are now running are: Abuja metro-Kukwaba 1; national park-Kukwaba (Ring Road 11); Wupa-Bassanjiwa (Airport east);-Idu- Airport, while Gbazango-Kagini (Jibi)-Dei Dei-Gwagwa-Idu routes are yet to commence .

PDP alleges plan to invade National Assembly, impeach Saraki, Ekweremadu

Peoples Democratic Party , ( PDP ) has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s two -week vacation in London is a strategy designed with senators of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) to impeach senate president , Bukola Saraki and his deputy , Ike Ekweremadu .
PDP also alleged that the president ’ s departure to London is to exonerate him from the planned invasion of the National Assembly.
President Buhari announced he will be in London during his 10 – day holiday which begins August 3 to August 13 . Vice president Yemi Osinbajo will be in acting capacity pending his return .
“ President Buhari is now jetting out of the country so as to appear innocent and oblivious of the political terrors about to be unleashed on the National Assembly , ” PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbodiyan said in a statement .
“ The party is aware of plots already perfected in a meeting , on Wednesday night, between the Presidency and some compromised All Progressives Congress ( APC) senators , who are now in the minority , to forcefully reconvene the Senate with protection from security agencies, with a view to impeach Senate President Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu . ”
PDP said it “ knows that the desperation to illegally take control of the National Assembly is part of the design to undermine our democratic institutions and completely foist a dictatorial regime on our nation . ”
The party stated that the planned invasion by the presidency is also a bid to cover the “ atrocious and humongous corruption of the Buhari administration ” , which the National Assembly is set to expose.
“ It is clear that President Buhari and the APC are hugely terrified and distressed by the gale of defections from their fold and have resorted to underhand methods , threats and intimidation , irrespective of the damage being inflicting on the polity , ” Ologbodiyan said .
PDP also accused the APC and president Buhari of sponsoring the failed attempt by eight Benue House of Assembly members to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom .

Kano deputy governor joins opposition PDP

The defection of Abubakar, who has been at loggerheads with his boss, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, was confirmed by the PDP on its Twitter handle and in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
Abubakar had accused Ganduje of voting state resources to remove him from office.
He also alleged that his life and those of his family members were in danger, especially with the withdrawal of some of his security aides.
He said his office was also being disrespected and that he was still occupying his private house instead of official residence.
Responding to the allegations on Wednesday, the Commissioner for Information and Culture in Kano State, Muhammad Garba, said Abubakar was too insignificant for the state government to vote money to fight.
Garba, who spoke after the Kano State Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, said Abubakar was at the meeting with more security details.
He said it was the choice of the deputy governor for him to be operating from his personal house, adding that the fund for the construction of the official residence was being handled by Abubakar.
The deputy governor defected to the PDP after this.

2019: God says PDP, APC should adopt me as consensus candidate – Rev. Okotie claims

The General Overseer of the Household of God Church, Rev. Chris Okotie has said God asked him to tell the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to adopt him as consensus candidate in 2019.

Okotie stated this at his church on Sunday while declaring interest to contest the 2019 presidential election.

The cleric, who contested the 2007 presidential elections and lost, noted that the time had come for truth and transparency in government.

“Nigeria has become a divided and segregated society like never before.

“The dream of a great Nigeria which flowered at independence, the yearnings and aspirations of the people and the Nigerian brotherhood whose ensign dominated the political horizon at independence have all been consigned to oblivion.

“Times like this require the recruitment of patriotic gladiators who must now take up the gauntlet to defend the Nigerian dream.

“I have re-emerged from my political hibernation to contest for the office of president in the forthcoming elections. I am fully persuaded that Nigeria needs a man who is credible, dependable and trustworthy; a God-fearing man who will be readily embroidered with compassion and love for country who will be readily accepted as a symbol of national unity.

“I believe that the benevolent grace of God has telescoped these virtues into my person, to prepare me for such at a time as this.

“In sincere humility and deference to our democratic institutions, I appeal to the APC and PDP to subscribe to this ideal by adopting me as a consensus presidential candidate at the next elections.

“I ask the APC and PDP, respectfully, within the confines of conventional propriety, to temporise and observe a peaceful hiatus in the commonality of the Nigerian brotherhood, and embrace me as a consensus remedial facilitator,” Okotie said.

My Legs Shook As I Drew The Portrait Of French President – Kareem

Meeting Wareez Olamilekan Kareem at the Ayowole Academy of Arts at Oke-Odo community of Lagos was exciting. Kareem, who drew a portrait of the French PresidentEmmanuel Macron, in this interview withSamuel Abulude, speaks on his dreams and encounter with the French President. Can you tell me about yourself?My name is Wareez Olamilekan Kareem. I am 11 years old, born on 14th of March, 2007. I am a pencil artist and prosthetic make-up artist. My father, Mutiu Kareem is a spare parts dealer at the Jankara. My mum, Zainab Olamilekan deals in soft drinks in Oshodi. I am the second child and have two sisters.Which school do you attend? How did you start drawing and how did you become a hyperrealism artist?I attend Oke-Odo Junior College and I am presently in JSS 1. I have been drawing since I was six years old. I started by drawing cartoons and comics that I see in the newspaper. I started drawing professionally when I was eight years old after joining the Ayowole Academy of Arts.How did you get to know about the Ayowole Academy of Arts?It was after school and I was going home. I met a Still-Life drawing composition going on and I joined bringing out my book to alsomake some drawings. The sister to the owner saw my seriousness and said, ‘Ewo nka ti omo yii ya?’ (meaning look at what this boy is drawing in Yoruba language). Theowner, Uncle Ayodeji liked the way I was drawing and wanted to train me asking to join the academy. I was so happy that day.Which year was that?That was in 2016. I told my mum about it and I joined them the second day. I normally resume at the academy after school. I work from 3.30pm or 4pm to 6pm and sometimes 7pm. It was here that I learnt hyperrealism drawing. What led to your being called to make a pencil drawing of the French President?I have an Instagram account opened for me by Uncle Wole. Uncle Wole Adeniyi and uncle Aladeja Ayodeji are the owners of the art academy. So they saw my drawings and uncle Wole told me Eco Bank called andwanted me to do a painting of the French president who was coming to the Afrika Shrine. When you got there and had to draw the portrait for two hours in front of a big crowd, how did you feel?(Smiling) I felt nervous at first. I was afraid drawing in front of so many people at the Shrine. My legs shook. Standing to draw a realism painting of the president is the biggest that I have done in my life. Mr Banky W introduced me to the audience and took the portrait. After the drawing and it was presented to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, he held and thanked me. My Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode was also proud of me and said he would do something for me. How did you feel after all these?I felt very happy and excited.Have you made paintings like this before a crowd?No I haven’t. But I have drawn before like this before the public. BBC came here too to interview me and I spoke as I drew the portrait. Also two television stations have interviewed me and I had to demonstrate what I loved doing. Who is your favourite musician?I like Olamide. I like his song, Shakiti Bobo and dance to the song as well. I also like Science Student.How do you get inspiration to do what you do?I draw inspiration from my environment, my surroundings, things that are going around me. The hyperrealism painting, ‘Daily Bread’ is an example. It shows a boy eating and crying at the same time. My family, my dad and mum has tried for me and my two sisters. They have always managed to take care of us and send us to school. My senior sister, Sherifat is 16 years old and has finished her secondary school. She is waiting to enter the higher institution. My junior sister, Fatia is ten years old.How long did it take you to finish that painting, ‘Daily Bread’?It took me a month to finish the painting. I am attached to it because it is symbolic and shows the suffering of the young Nigerian child. We pray for a better Nigeria where every youth has a right to dream and aspireto be great and be anything in life.What did the French President tell you?He asked me where I learnt it. I told him I learnt it at the Ayowole Academy of Arts. The governor of Lagos state was also impressed with me and said that he must give me something. He said that he was going to help my family at the Academy. Mymum told me that the governor promised me a scholarship.What is your dream?I want to be a great Artist in the Whole WideWorld. I want to travel abroad and get exposed to the best training in the arts. I want to study abroad and be a painter. I want my work to be as big as ‘Mona Lisa’. I want my paintings to be as valuable as Mona Lisa.

PDP: President Buhari will refund every kobo of Abacha Loot when we take over in 2019

Uche Secondus, national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of committing “mother of corruption” with repatriated Abacha Loot.He said this during a meeting with the state executive of the PDP ahead of a meeting with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.Secondus castigated the anti-corruption war of the president, saying the government would be held accountable if PDP wins in 2019.“They said they are fighting corruption and the mother of corruption is being perpetrated under this government, ” he said.“Abacha’s looted funds withdrawn and being given out to people; that is the mother of all corruption.“How on earth will a government engage in mother of corruption? Abacha’s loot money has been withdrawn from the banks and beinggiven to cronies.“We want to assure President Muhammadu Buhari and All Progressives Congress that theywill be held accountable. That is mother of corruption.“No government will put money in baskets and start sharing. When PDP takes over in 2019, wewill ask them to refund every kobo of Abacha’s loot. It is primitive to be spending money without proper appropriation.“I believe that the money is meant for the APC government election in 2019 and they have started using it. If they do, when we take over, we will probe it.”