Twitter Drops Lawsuit Against Trump White House After Latter Withdrew Summons

Less than 24 hours after suing the White House for ordering the unmasking of a specific user, Twitter pulled the lawsuit Friday and said the summons from the government had been withdrawn. On Thursday, the social media website filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California stating that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demanded on March 14 to know the identity of a Twitter account that was critical of President Donald Trump. The account in question has the Twitter handle @ALT_USCIS and is operated by anonymous critics of Trump’s immigration and deportation policies. Describing itself as “immigration resistance” in its profile, the account claims to be an “alternative” to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS is a division of the DHS. My letter to CBP asking for an explanation to ensure this doesn’t happen again — Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) April 7, 2017 A day later, Twitter pulled the suit and said that the Trump administration had backed down. The company’s lawyer Mark Flanagan wrote in court papers that the summons “no longer has any force or effect”. The lawsuit created a wave of anxiety from advocates of free speech. Some Trump critics worried that the @ALT_USCIS summons was the first volley in a war against criticism of the young administration. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) applauded the results of Twitter’s suit, calling the dropping of the summons a “big victory for free speech and right to dissent” in a statement Friday. (Anadolu Agency)

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SAD: Youth Corper Dies Of Heart Failure After Football Match

Anthony Ochai, a member of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, from Benue State, has died of heart failure in Sokoto. Musa Abubakar, the state NYSC coordinator, made the disclosure in Sokoto on Friday, April 7, 2017 during the passing out ceremony of 1,411 corps members deployed to the state under the 2016 batch ‘A’ stream one. He said, “The late corps member was serving at the Government Secondary School, Tsamaye, Sabon-Birni Local Government in the state. “The deceased was resting after a football match between the various batches of the scheme, suddenly he just collapsed and died. “His remains were brought to the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto and it was confirmed that he died of heart failure.” Abubakar further stated that the late corps member hailed from Ugbokolo village in Ukopo local government of Benue state. The coordinator also said that the remains of the late Ochai would be buried on Friday in his hometown. Abubakar further disclosed that 10 corps members had their service year extended by between three months to one year, for abscondment. In the same vein, 10 corps members were given state merit awards, while four others received the chairman’s commendation certificate. He added that 85 other corps members were given commendation letters for outstanding performance. Abubakar advised the outgoing corps members to continue to be good ambassadors of the service. (NAN)

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Whistleblower Seeks Leave To Prosecute Magu, Others Over N1.9 Trillion Fraud

Forthright Chambers, a Abuja-based law firm, has sought the permission of the attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami to prosecute the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu over allegations of corruption to the tune of N1.9 trillion. The firm also listed the three past chairperson of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Mrs Farida Waziri, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde to be also prosecuted. The leave to prosecute was contained in a letter titled: Application for consent to prosecute a case of corruption pursuant to sections 106, 268, 381 and 383 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. The firm also mentioned Access Bank Plc as a company that allegedly supported the former chairmen in perpetrating the alleged fraud. The consent letter is coming barely a day after an application seeking to compel the AGF to prosecute the former EFCC bosses was struck out by an FCT High Court. Justice Abba-Bello Muhammad had on April 4 struck out the application moved by Frank Tietie on the ground that he lacked “locus standi’’ to compel the AGF to prosecute the former heads of the anti-graft body. The Judge had said Section 383 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) already spelt out where a Private Legal Practitioner could compel the AGF to investigate individuals. The applicants in that matter were George Uboh and George Uboh Whistleblowers Network. (NAN)

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FG Files Appeal Against Judgement Acquitting Justice Ademola, Wife

The federal government has filed an appeal against the decision of Justice Jude Okeke upholding the no case submission in the corruption case against Justice Adeniyi Ademola, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola, and Mr Joe Agi. A source in the presidency confirmed this development to State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, April 6, 2017. The source stated that the appeal was informed by the need to save the war against corruption. The source revealed that the government, through the Ministry of Justice, had also filed a fresh case in the Code of Conduct Tribunal against Justice Ademola and wife “for living above their means and failure to declare their assets.’’ Justice Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, on Wednesday, upheld the no case submission by the defence in the corruption case against Justice Adeniyi Ademola, Mrs Olabowale Ademola and Mr Joe Agi. The judge struck out the 18-count charge preferred against the defendants after holding that the prosecution failed to prove any of the allegations despite the provisions of sections 53 and 60 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) Act. However, sources in the presidency informed State House correspondents that the government had been advised to appeal against what is described as “a very strange outcome indeed considering the underlying facts. “It is even stranger that the trial was not allowed to continue considering the applicable statutory provisions. “Section 53 (1) of the ICPC Act raises a presumption that any gratification accepted or obtained by an accused person must have been corruptly accepted or obtained until the contrary is proved. Section 60 of the Act does not apply to the case. “Of interest is the decision of the learned trial judge that the offence of giving and receiving gratification was not made out by the prosecution against the defendants in the face of the evidence held in court. “Prosecution witnesses gave testimony of the payment of N30 Million in three tranches by Mr Joe Agi (SAN), into the account of Mrs Olabowale Ademola, the wife of Justice Ademola. Agi was a legal practitioner who actually had cases in the court of Justice Ademola. “The defendants, however, claimed that the money was a gift from common friends for the benefit of Justice Ademola and Mrs Ademola to support the wedding of their daughter’’, the source narrated. The source added that the evidence of the defence suggesting that the source of the money was not Agi, was unclear at best and ought not to have formed the basis of the learned trial judge’s conclusion at this stage of the proceedings. “What was clear was that the last tranche was paid shortly before Justice Ademola granted a garnishee order in favour of Agi’s client to the tune of about $637 million. “Prior to this, it was also not disputed that Justice Ademola’s son had received a BMW vehicle worth about N8,500,000 from Agi.’’ The presidency source continued: “One of the charges dismissed relates to the possession of firearms by Justice Ademola without a valid licence. “On this, Honourable Justice Okeke held that the Firearms Act made provision for a time lag, that is, for Justice Ademola to continue to hold on to his firearms and ammunition even after the expiration of his licence. “In this case, a new licence was tendered in a situation where Justice Ademola ought to have tendered a renewal of his old licence. Being in possession of two licences in respect of the same firearm ought to have raised some questions for the defendants to resolve.’’ According to sources, within the prosecution, the ruling suggests that the learned trial judge proceeded to ascribe probative value to the evidence of prosecution witnesses at the stage of a no case submission when he ought only to have considered whether a prima facie case had been made out by the prosecution against the defendants. “The learned trial Judge had held that there was no link between the gratification received by Justice Ademola and the judgment he delivered in favour of Agi.’’ The source maintained that the ruling failed to address the relevance of section 53 of the ICPC Act which raised a presumption of corruption in respect of the gratification in question. The source said this and other troubling questions must be addressed in an appeal against the ruling. When contacted for official comments of the presidency, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu denied the existence of a rift between the Executive and Judicial arms of government over this issue and other recent judicial decisions posing a challenge to the war against corruption. According to him, the relationship between the two arms of government has been very cordial, adding that nothing has happened to change the nature of the relationship.

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Xenophobic Mob Kills 2 Nigerians In South Africa

After weeks of assault on Nigerians, which led to destruction of property and severe injuries, aggrieved South Africans have finally killed two Nigerians. While Martins Cobham, Nigerian high commissioner to South Africa, confirmed the death of a Nigerian mechanic identified as Razak Ajao, Ralph Nwachukwu, a Nigerian in South Africa, said another Nigerian was also killed on Thursday. Both incidents happened in Polokwane, Limpopo province. “I can confirm that a Nigerian, Razak Ajao, an auto mechanic was killed and four others injured during a mob attack against foreigners in Polokwane, Limpopo Province of South Africa today (Thursday, April 6, 2017),” Cobahm said. “The Nigerian mission has formally registered a protest to the South African ministry of foreign affairs on this sad incident. “The ministry said they would get back to the mission and that is the situation we are now. The mission has also reported the attacks to the South African police. “Meanwhile, the mission is meeting with officials of Nigeria Union on the incident to decide on the next line of action. “We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.” Cobham said two of the injured Nigerians had been treated and discharged while others were still receiving treatment in the hospital. Meanwhile, Nwachukwu, who could not give the names of the victims, said the attack started when Nigerians living in that area were holding a meeting. “They held a meeting on Tuesday and today (Thursday) was supposed to be a follow up,” he said. “It was at the peak of the meeting that the South African taxi drivers swooped on them. “They accused Nigerians of peddling drugs and began to attack them with dangerous weapons that led to the death of two while many others were seriously injured.” Nwachukwu said Nigerians, in a bid to register their complaint, went to police station but the commander at the station drove them out instead of listening to them. He alleged that the commander threatened to shoot them if they did not leave the station. (NAN)

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Poor Budgeting Practices Responsible For Nigeria’s Recession – Pat Utomi

Pat Utomi, an economist and a former presidential candidate, has said that poor budget management process is responsible for the current economic recession in Nigeria and not the fall in oil prices. Utomi made the observation in Awka on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 while speaking at the maiden edition of Emmanual Egboga Budget Roundtable, organised by the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Business School. In a lecture on “Budget Process in Nigeria; Challenges for National Development’’, the renowned economist said the economic downturn could have been avoided if the managers of the budget system were proactive. He decried the reliance on crude oil, which he said, constituted about 12 per cent the Gross Domestic Product for the revenue component of the budget against other sectors. He also noted that the oil revenue had beclouded the budget managers from seeing the great potential of taxes as a major source of budget funding. Utomi, however, said that government at all levels should do more to encourage the private sector to set up businesses to be able to tax them. He said that governments in Nigeria were doing more to kill businesses rather than encouraging them to grow due to high cost of operational environment created for investors. “Dependence on oil has made Nigeria to lose sight of taxes as a major source of budget funding, but government must create conducive environment for businesses to thrive. “Poor budget practices, rather than fall in oil prices, are responsible for Nigeria’s recession,” he said. The Director, Unizik Business School, Prof. Austin Nnoyelu, said the roundtable was packaged by the school to discuss issues in budgeting which was a major challenge to the wheel of national development. Nnoyelu said the outcome was targeted at evolving the road map out of the problems and chart a new course towards greater development of the country. “Over the years, issues relating to budgeting in Nigeria at the states and federal levels have been trending, the process has been faced with myriads of challenges and problems. “Budgeting is a very serious business; at times it is complex and complicated; the Unizik Business school is committed to unraveling the issues and hopes to provide a roadmap or intellectual capital that will redirect and reorient the entire mechanisms involved in the budget development and implementation process,” he said. The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Joe Ahaneku, thanked the resource persons and promised that the roundtable would be an annual event. Ahaneku also said that the university would continue to provide answers to the various national development questions as a research and learning centre, while urging policy makers to take advantage of the session. (NAN)

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University Of Ibadan ASUU Declare One-Week Strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, has declared a one-week warning strike over illegal pension deductions, fractional salary payments and non-payment of supervision allowance. The decision was taken on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at a congress convened by the union and presided over by its chairman, Deji Omole. NAN reports that members also complained over excessive deductions in their March salaries. The management of the university was also alleged to have failed to declare the internally generated revenue (IGR) profile of the university. According to Omole, the warning strike is, therefore, to compel the university administration to address the issues which ASUU said bordered on the welfare of her members who are being owed since 2010. “The congress of ASUU, UNIBADAN, at its meeting of 4th April, 2017, having received permission from the national body of the union, hereby, declare a one-week warning strike. “The warning strike will commence from 12:01 midnight of Tuesday, 4th April, to 12:00 midnight of Tuesday, 11th April, 2017. “The congress of the union maintains that the failure of the university administration to satisfactorily resolve all the issues, will force the union to proceed on a comprehensive and total strike,” said Omole. The congress, which was well attended, was also addressed by the national delegates of ASUU, which included professors: Mahmood Lawan, from Kano, Tony Monye-Emina, from Benin and Bebe Sese, from Port Harcourt. NAN recalls that the union had in a congress resolution in March warned the university management to address its grievances, bordering on reversal of illicit deductions and non-payment of promotion arrears. The three non-academic staff unions of the institution had also been on strike since March 13, grounding administrative activities in the institution. (NAN)

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UNILAG Disowns 13 Students Remanded In Kirikiri Prison

The management of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, has disowned the 13 students who are currently in Kirikiri Medium Prison custody over an alleged “riotous invasion” of the university campus and a television station. In a statement on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, Toyin Adebule, deputy registrar, Information Unit of the university said the detained people comprised of students rusticated by the institution and others from a school in Ogun State. “The University of Lagos hereby states that the 13 students remanded by the court as reported by different newspaper tabloids and electronic publications are not students of the institution. “Let us emphasise here that the rusticated students are requested to apply for re-admission after serving their punishment. Until re-absorption, they are not considered bona fide students of the university.” The statement came just as Nigeria’s umbrella student body, the National Association of Nigerian Students, issued a 24-hour ultimatum for the release of the students. The police had charged the students before a Special Offences Mobile Court for “riotous invasion.” The students include Femi Adeyeye (who is currently rusticated for four semesters by the university for criticising the management on social media), Tony Aina, Kodri Yaya, Asimi Oladime, Ismahim Olalekan, Segun Okesola, Abdulazeez Soneye, Idris Abogunloko, and Muyiwa Olaniyi. The rest are Toheed Oladimeji, Joseph Akanni, Lukumon Olusegun, and Abiodun Agbeniyi. (NAN)

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‘Buhari’s Phone Call To Me, Doused His Death Rumours’ – Gowon

Yakubu Gowon, former head of state, says the telephone call made to him from London by President Muhammadu Buhari gave Nigerians hope that he was alive and well. President Buhari had on March 6 called to commiserate with Gowon over the death of his younger sister, Kande Martha Audu. The president was in London receiving treatment when made the telephone call. The call, Gowon says, doused the rumours surrounding the health status of Buhari. Speaking with state house correspondents on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Gowon said he was in the presidential villa to welcome Buhari back to the country and to thank him for the call. “Let me tell you the honest truth, my coming here today is to thank and welcome Mr. President back from his health issues and problems and to thank God for what He has done for him to have his health back, for him to be able to return back to work,” he said. “The other thing also is to thank him very much indeed for ringing me from London when he was in London to commiserate with me on the death my sister. This was really very gracious of him, I should have rang to speak to him but of course since I know that he was in hospital I could not do that. “But when he rang to condole with me on my sister’s death I was very touched and that also help Nigerians to rejoice especially those who were sending all those very unfortunate message about him and about whatever it is. “So I think it was a good thing that was done and Nigerians knew he is still well for him to be able to ring. This is really the purpose of what brought me here. And then also to encourage him ‎to continue to do his work to the best of his ability dealing with all the problems. “Day in day out you read in the press of all sorts of things happening, God will give him continued strength and energy to be to deal with the problems of the country for the good of Nigerians. I’m delighted to be here, to welcome him back and to see him in reasonable good health and able to do whatever he is able to do.” (NAN)

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Corporate Affairs Commission Begins 24-Hour Operations

Mahmud Bello, the registrar-general, Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, says the commission has started operating 24 hours company registration process to make startup of business easier in Nigeria. Bello said this at the CAC Customers’ Forum in Kano, organised in collaboration with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). The registrar-general made this known in a statement on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 in Abuja He said that the aim of operating the new system was to ensure that business owners in Nigeria conveniently registered their businesses online within 48 hours. According to him, series of reforms has been implemented by the commission this year to make it quicker, cheaper and more convenient for Nigerians to start businesses. “CAC, as an agency of government involved in the startup of business, has keyed into the Federal Government’s vision to make Nigeria an easier place for businesses to start and thrive. “Our reforms are designed with the MSMEs in mind. For us, a customer is a king and must be treated with royalty,” Bello said. Bello said that manual application and registration processes would be gradually phased out in the course of the year. According to him, the manual registration phase out will  start with Lagos and Kano as from April 30, where all submissions should be done online. Also, the  Secretary of PEBEC, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, said the council was committed to providing complete support to CAC and all other MDAs to implement the reforms. According to Oduwole, the reform is to actualise the Federal Government’s mandate of making businesses work in Nigeria. The high point of the event was a demonstration session by the commission on its latest reforms such as document upload Interface which enabled e-submission of registration documents in CAC registration Portal. The demonstration also involves the integration of the FIRS e-payment solution into the portal to enable e-stamping. Accordingly, the participants were given a walk-through of the public search window and the single incorporation form. (NAN)

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Zamfara Governor Yari Says Meningitis Outbreak Is God’s Punishment For Fornication

Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara State, says the outbreak of “stereotype C” meningitis is God’s way of pouring his anger on Nigerians. With 213 deaths, Zamfara is the worst hit state in the outbreak of the disease. Last week, Chikwe Ihekweazu, chief executive officer (CEO) of  the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), disclosed that the vaccines for the new strand of the disease were not commercially available. But Yari, who advised Nigerians to make their ways right, expressed optimism that the situation would be contained. The governor said this at the presidential villa in Abuja after meeting President Muhammdu Buhari. “The most important thing is for our people to know that their relationship with God is not smooth. All they need to do is repent and everything will be all right,” he said. “What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the type A virus. The World Health Organisation, WHO, has carried out vaccinations against this type A virus not just in Zamfara, but many other states. “However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination. “People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned. “There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.” During the weekend, the Zamfara chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) accused Yari’s government of not doing enough to forestall the outbreak of the disease. But Yari denied the allegation, saying his government took different measures, including calling an emergency meeting where stakeholders were briefed on the disease. “After the meeting, we came out with a strategy to be adopted and the money required to deal with the outbreak and a lot of work is going on,” he said. Yari said the announcement that there are only five million dose of the vaccine against the Type C virus has compounded the problem. He said the federal ministry of health has only 50,000 doses of the vaccine, out of which 20,000 was given to his state. “That is not enough for Zamfara people alone, not to talk of Katsina or Kano,” he said. “Our Focus as a state now is to continue treating those who are infected with the disease, but as for vaccination, it has an international dimension. “We have information that Nigeria will get the highest percentage of the five million doses available now. Apart from WHO, other International bodies such as the Bill Gates foundation and UNICEF are also currently focusing on how to tackle the outbreak.” (NAN)

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3 Kidnap Suspects Arrested In Murder Of ‘Bakassi Boys’ In Aba

The commissioner of police in Abia, Mr Leye Oyebade, says the command has arrested three kidnap suspects involved in the gruesome killing of four members of the state vigilance group known as ‘Bakassi Boys’ in Aba. The deceased were reportedly attacked by the assailants, who allegedly ambushed them on Aba-Owerri Road around 4 p.m. in February. The Bakassi men were said to be returning to their office in their operational van when the hoodlums reportedly opened fire on them, killing three of them on the spot, while the fourth person died later in the hospital. The vigilance group allegedly drew the ire of the hoodlums, after it reportedly foiled their attempt to kidnap a prominent businessman in the city. Oyebade told newsmen in his office in Umuahia, that two of the suspects — Chimezie Ezeigbo, alias ‘landlord’, and Emeka Ukaegbu, alias ‘smallpin’ — were arrested while guarding a kidnap victim, one Christopher Duru. Oyebade said Duru, a resident of World Bank Estate, Aba, was kidnapped on March 17 but rescued by operatives from Ndiegoro Divisional Police Station and the Aba Area Police Command. He said the suspects, which included one Julius Nnachi of Amaetiti Ekoli in Ebonyi, had confessed to the crime. The police commissioner said his men recovered one Pump Action Rifle, one English-made Pistol, seven live cartridges, one .9 mm live ammunition and five cellphones from the suspects. The command, he said, also arrested a Lagos-based shoe trader, Godswill Nwokoh, 51, for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old boy in a guest house in Aba. The boy, a Junior Secondary School 1 student, said that he was lured into the guest house by Nwokoh, who woke him up in the night and allegedly “used” him. He said that Nwokoh muffled his mouth with his hands and prevented him from screaming during the act. Nwokoh, however, denied the allegation in an interview with newsmen, saying he only allowed the boy to spend the night in his room, after he allegedly strayed from his parents”’ home in Aba. Nwokoh, who said he usually came to buy Aba-made shoes and belts, said he was in the room with the boy and his friend as well as his son, who accompanied him on the trip from Lagos. The police commissioner later gave a breakdown of arrests made by the command in the last eight months. According to him, 134 persons were arrested for different criminal offences, ranging from armed robbery to kidnapping, car-snatching, rape, murder, pipeline vandalism, cultism and child-trafficking, among others. Oyebade said the command recovered 32 arms, 188 ammunition, 40 vehicles, 15 motorcycles/tricycles and rescued 15 kidnap victims. The rescued victims included 90-year-old Pa Jeremaiah Adindu, the father of Godwin Adindu, the former Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu. He said the suspects would be arraigned at the end of the investigations. Meanwhile, Oyebade said that the command would soon inaugurate a crack team known as Tactical Response Squad, currently undergoing special training in combating heinous crimes. He said the squad, to be deployed in Umuahia and Aba, would be unveiled at the end of the training and posted to areas notorious for heinous crimes, such as kidnapping and armed robbery. The police commissioner said that the governor had promised to support the command with the necessary logistics that would enable it to commence operations with ease. He appealed to members of the public to assist the police with useful information that would help them to discharge their mandate of protecting lives and property. Oyebade said the state government had announced a N1 million reward for any informant that assisted the police to arrest notorious criminal suspects in the state. (NAN)

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