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UNICEF said, N44.1b is required to fight malnutrition in North-East

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United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has revealed that about N44.1 billion (US$147 million) is required to prevent severe malnutrition in 450,000 children in North-East part of the country this year, even as it seeks $3.3 billion to cater for 48 million children living in the worst conflict areas globally.
In a statement made available to Vanguard yesterday, the organisation made an appeal for support, warning that in the three most affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, thousands of children may come down with acute malnutrition in the near future if the required financial support is not made available.

According to the UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, “Nigeria is one of the main countries of focus for the appeal. “For our emergency response for children and families affected by the conflict in North-East Nigeria, UNICEF is seeking US$147 million. “While the biggest individual appeal is on behalf of children and families caught up in Syria’s long-running conflict, for which UNICEF is seeking over US$1 billion for assistance, 48 million children living through some of the world’s worst conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies will benefit from UNICEF’s 2017 appeal, which was launched today (yesterday).”

FG said, it had recovered a sensitive information from Boko Haram

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The Federal Government, yesterday in Abuja, said it had recovered some sensitive documents and treasure of the Boko Haram in the Sambisa Forest.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this, said the items, including the propaganda strategy of the sect, was discovered from the materials left behind by the terrorists after they were routed from their last stronghold in the forest.

The minister, therefore, called on the media and the public to be vigilant, saying “the decimated group has shifted its strategy towards dominating the media space, propagating a perverted version of Sharia law and giving the impression that it is still holding territory.” He also appealed to the public and the media to ensure that they do not “unwittingly provide the terrorists with the oxygen of publicity that they desperately need.

“We must all unite against terrorism by denying Boko Haram our platforms to propagate its ideology. Both the media and the citizens have important roles to play in complementing our Armed Forces, which are combining land and air resources to completely clear the vestiges of Boko Haram.”

National Assembly, Udoma confer with Osinbajo

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Nigeria Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday, led the Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, to a meeting with Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. Others in attendance were Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting held behind closed doors, Saraki said they were consulted on matters of economy and 2017 budget. He said: “We are meeting on the economy and the budget, myself, the Vice President and the Speaker, Minister of Budget and Minister of Finance. We are aware that the economic team will soon be on a road show and to brief us and let us know the issues and carry us along. “We have just started the  budget defence. So, there are no issues. These are just consultations.” Meanwhile, Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Lawal Babachir, was seen coming out of Osinbajo’s office shortly after Saraki and Dogara left the villa. It will be recalled that Babachir was indicted by the Senate over the funds meant for the welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the North East and called for his sack. It could not be readily ascertained if the meeting discussed soft landing for the embattled SGF.

Vanguard

Nigeria declares two senior Customs officials wanted over importation of 661 rifles

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The Nigeria Customs Service has declared two of its senior officers wanted over the importation of 661 pump-action rifles into the country.

The arms, which were intercepted at the Lagos port, were concealed with steel doors and other merchandise good.

The wanted officers are Abdulahi, I, an assistant superintendent of customs (ASC), with service number 44483 and ACIC Odiba Inah, with service number 133386.

An alert issued on Tuesday evening by the Deputy Comptroller General, Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Dan Ugo, requested that the officers should be arrested wherever they are seen and taken to the nearest customs formation.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, had on Monday said that the Federal Operations Unit, while on patrol, intercepted a Mark truck with registration number BUG 265 XG conveying a 40ft container with number; PONU/825914/3 along Mile 2 Apapa Road, Lagos.

The comptroller-general said the truck was immediately taken to F.O.U. premises for physical examination and 49 boxes containing 661 pieces of pump action rifles concealed with steel doors were revealed.

Mr. Ali said the rifles were under absolute prohibition, adding that its importation was illegal.

“Such deadly contravention of the law is even more unacceptable considering the fragile security situation in some parts of the country.

“Already three suspects have been arrested in connection with this illegal importation,” NAN quoted the comptroller-general as saying.

The suspects are: Oscan Okafor (an importer), Mahmud Haruna (a clearing agent), and Sadique Mustapha (accompanying the consignment to its destination).

Mr. Ali said initially the consignment was said to have originated from Turkey, adding that there was a mix-up in the document which finally revealed that the consignment originated from China.

He said Customs officers who were involved in the clearance of the containers were in the custody of Comptroller Mahmud Haruna of FOU Zone “A’’.

Mr. Ali said the seizure underscored the determination of the service to enforce all laws relating to importation and exportation of goods into and out the country thereby contributing to the economy, security and well-being of the country.

Premium Times

Moroccans welcomed their country’s to the African Union

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Moroccans welcomed their country’s “victorious return” to the African Union as their king on Tuesday took a seat at the bloc’s Ethiopian headquarters for the first time in decades.
“Morocco should have rejoined the African Union a long time ago,” pensioner Mohamed Alaoui told AFP in the capital Rabat late Monday.
The King of Morocco Mohammed VI delivers a speech in the main plenary of the African Union in Addis Ababa on January, 31, 2017. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI took a seat at the African Union headquarters Tuesday for the first time in 33 years after being re-admitted by the bloc. Morocco’s return to the fold comes a day after 39 of the AU’s 54 member states agreed to allow Morocco back in the fold, despite stiff resistance from countries such as South Africa and Algeria over the status of Western Sahara. AFP PHOTO Mustapha Akhaziz, a language professor, said it would be an opportunity for Morocco to “defend its interests on the issue of the Western Sahara”. Morocco’s press on Tuesday hailed the kingdom rejoining the 54-member bloc after 33 years of absence. “Historic decision”, “Victorious return”, “Thank you your Majesty…” read several headlines. The official news agency MAP published a string of interviews with African ministers welcoming Morocco back into its “African family”. Television channels broadcast footage of the Moroccan delegation in Addis Ababa, led by Foreign Minister Salahedinne Mezouar, singing the national anthem by the grand piano of a hotel lobby. On Monday, 39 countries voted to allow Morocco back into the fold despite resistance from countries such as Algeria and South Africa, which have traditionally backed the Polisario Front. Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, foreign minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, said the SADR accepted the decision. He said on Monday that having Morocco in the same room would allow the SADR to pressure them into allowing a referendum on self-determination in accordance with a 1975 decision by the International Court of Justice. Morocco has been angling to return to the African Union for several years, and King Mohammed VI formally announced his intention to do so in July last year. Morocco is increasingly looking southwards to expand its economy, and has realised it cannot drive an agenda on the continent without being a member of the union, observers say.

Rivers Police Commissioner is dead

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DAILY POST report that, the Commissioner of Police in Rivers state, CP Francis Odesanya is dead.

The reporter gathered that CP Odesanya has been battling with an undisclosed illness, but subsequently flown abroad for better medical care.

A reliable source in the Command who does not want his name mentioned disclosed that CP Odesanya died early Tuesday.

When contacted, Spokesman of the Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni declined comment on the development.

Governor Ugwuanyi reorganize Ranger International management

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The Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has rejigged the management of Rangers International, after holding a fact-finding meeting with the board, players, supporters’ club and other stakeholders in the club.

After it was agreed that there was a need for change, Ugwuanyi named former captain and coach of the Flying Antelopes, Christian Chukwu as the new General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the club.

Chukwu takes over from Ozo Chibuzor and his appointment takes place with immediate effect.

The decision was not unconnected with the unimpressive start to the new Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season by the defending champions. They have only won one game out of the first five fixtures.

Reacting to the development, Chukwu thanked the Governor for the appointment and his prompt intervention and promised to put in his best to ensure that Rangers retains it current status in Nigeria football.

He called for the cooperation and support of the board, management, players and all other stakeholders of the club to take it to an enviable height.

Daily Trust

ANC alleged of spreading fake news in South African local elections

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ANC is alleged to have used the services of a group called the Media Advisory Team to attract voters through the use of social media, chat shows and a news website.

But the team is also alleged to have produced and planted fake information about its political opponents.

The accusation came to light when one of the people involved, Sihle Bolani, filed a case in court suing the ANC for 2.2 million rands (150,000 euros), claiming the party owes her the money for work she did.

Sihle Bolani also recorded on her cellphone some of the group's "war room" meetings with ANC's general manager Ignatius Jacobs.

The Democratic Alliance opposition party has said it is going to raise the matter with the Independent Electoral Commission in a meeting on Tuesday 31 January and ask for a full investigation into any violations of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

"The ANC's decision to run a black ops smear campaign against the Democratic Alliance and other political opponents undermines the function of free and fair elections,"  said Mabine Seabe, the spokesperson of the DA's leader, Mmusi Maimane. "And this is also condemned through our Electoral Act which states that a party cannot disseminate or produce information that is untrue or tarnish the name of any other political opponent”

He explains that a violation of this code of conduct carries a fine of up to 20,000 rands and, in the most extreme cases, the deregistration of the political party. The DA's legal team is examining whether to lay criminal or civil charges against the ANC.

One product of this alleged disinformation campaign are fake election posters of Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, holding an AK-47 with "Take up arms and fight" written at the top.

The EFF believes the smear campaign was carried out with the full cooperation of the ANC.

“We also believe that no amount of propaganda will ever restore the reputation of thieves and murderers, that’s why they still lost Johannesburg and Tshwane,” EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.

The ANC denies being involved in the whole operation.

“The ANC categorically rejects with the contempt that they deserve the report that we would have funded some covert operations called the black ops campaign targeting opposition parties” said Khusela Sangoni, ANC’s communications manager, “We are obviously concerned that an employee of the ANC's general manager has been implicated and in this regard the ANC is instituting an internal investigation to get to the bottom of these allegations.”

As head of the department of information and publicity and responsible for communication, Sangoni is adamant that the ANC never contracted the services of the Sihle Bolani or anyone else mentioned as part of this campaign.

William Bird, the director of Media Monitoring Africa, believes that most of the allegations contained in the legal documents are true.

"Nothing that the ANC or those involved are saying does really anything to disprove that.” he says.

“Did some members within the ANC sanction this? Yes that certainly seems to be the case, if you look at Jacobs. But I don't think that any senior executive of the ANC would be that unbelievably stupid to make those kind of decisions.”

Number of homeless in France still on rise as Hollande's mandate ends

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Despite his election promise to tackle poverty and other social problems, Hollande has had mixed results in providing decent homes for all, according to the Fondation Abbé Pierre homelessness campaign.

Four million people do not have a home or live in very poor housing conditions, the organisation's in annual report says, and more than 12 million are either tenants in arrears on their rent or home-owners in difficulty.

During the 2012 election campaign Hollande promised 500,000 new constructions per year, with 150,000 of them being public housing units.

But fewer than 400,000 homes have been built each year.

The Fondation Abbé Pierre also notes a massive 24 percent rise in evictions from rented property in 2015.

But there are positive points, the campaigners say, particularly limits on rent rises, better targeted attribution of social housing and help with heating and lighting.

The group has 15 proposals to fight homelessness, including the construction of 150,000 social housing units.

Presidential candidate Yannick Jadot, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Emmanuel Macron and Benoît Hamon were due to appear at a public debate on the report in Paris on Tuesday.

National Front candidate Marine Le Pen was not invited because of what the Fondation Abbé Pierre called its "profound disagreement" with her politics.

rfi

A civil servant woman, sues her husband to Jikwoyi customary court

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A civil servant, Faith Ogu, on Tuesday, dragged her unemployed husband, Joseph Ogu, to a Jikwoyi Customary Court in Abuja, seeking for divorce on the grounds that he deceived her about his ’employment’ status. Faith told the court that her jobless husband had deceived her into believing he had a source of livelihood before their marriage, adding that she only got to knew about his status as a ‘jobless’ person after they had  tied the knot.
“He never told me that he had no job, instead he kept telling me that he works with the Zenith Bank and that he has a business in Lagos, that yields him millions. “It was after I got married to him that I discovered the whole truth about him,” Faith said. She told the court that Joseph had also told her that he had built a house somewhere in Lugbe, but that after investigating, she realised that it was false. Faith said all her efforts to encourage him find a job did not elicit any positive response, as such she wanted the marriage dissolved. “He is lazy and does not want to do anything for a living; I have been lending him money, hoping that he would pay back. “I sponsored our wedding, I even lent him money to pay my bride price,” she said. The petitioner said that she had reported the matter to her elder sister to see if she could advise him but to no avail. “I beg this court to dissolve my marriage so that I can be free; I am tired of feed, clothing and paying medical bills for my husband ,” she pleaded. The Presiding Judge, Mr Everyman Eleanya, however reiterated that the respondent had not been in court since the beginning of the case and therefore ordered that a Hearing Notice be pasted in his sister’s house. He adjourned the case to Feb. 9, for continuation of hearing.

Federal High Court in Abuja refused an application by the Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike to stop the probe of election violence in the state

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday, January 30, refused an application by the Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike to stop the probe of election violence in the state.

The governor had earlier prayed the court to grant an ex-parte motion for an interim injunction on a proposed probe by the Nigerian police.

A submission objected by the police counsel.

But Justice Gabriel Kolawole in his ruling asked the defendants to provide reasons why Wike’s prayer cannot be granted.

However, on Monday, January 30, the police filed an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.

But counsel to the plaintiff Mike Ozekhome asked the court for time to respond to the motion filed by the defendant.

Ozekhome said the defendants did not only admit conducting the investigation, which formed the thrust of his clients’ case, they confirmed they were proceeding with the investigation despite the pendency of the suit.

But responding, the judge denied the plaintiff’s prayer on the grounds that there was no irreparable damage that could occur to the plaintiffs should the defendants proceed with their investigation.

Kolawole said the police should proceed with its investigation despite the pendency of a suit challenging its powers to conduct such investigation.

“As I observed in my ruling of January 16, 2017, the plaintiff is, by his office, the chief security officer of Rivers state.

The 1st defendant, by virtue of the provision of Section 215(1) (a) of the Constitution, is the chief law enforcement officer of the federation, who equally has the statutory duties to prevent, to detect and investigate any crime within the Nigerian borders.

“Both the 1st, 2nd plaintiffs and the 1st defendants appear to be exercising powers conferred on them by laws.

“The proceedings for today are for the defendants to show cause and for the plaintiffs’ motion on notice to be argued in the context of the defendants’ responses to the plaintiffs’ motion on notice.

“The question, which tasked my thought, is whether the filing of a notice of preliminary objection, strictly speaking, is a process by which the defendant, against whom an order of interim injunction is sought, ought to file? I really do not think so,” Kolawole said.

He further adjourned the matter to Friday, February 10.

Naij.com

Nigeria soldiers were reportedly ambushed by the Boko Haram terrorist group while they followed some commercial vehicles

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The Nigerian Army has confirmed the attack and killing of some soldiers in a Boko Haram ambush in Damboa, Borno state on Saturday, January 28.

The Punch reports that Major-General Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, said the terrorists escaped through the bush after the attack in which a civilian was also killed while two others were injured.

“There was an incident like that on Saturday. There was a military convoy passing and the Boko Haram came out in an ambush.

One civilian was killed and two others injured. The Boko Haram members incidentally ran away. There was no death on the part of the Boko Haram insurgents.

“The insurgents only wanted to disturb the peace and we lost a civilian. If you are in touch with happenings here, you will know that ambushes are not a big deal; two or three terrorists may set up an ambush.

“It was not true that the terrorists took away military vehicles. You cannot have a military convoy in procession and then an ambush, and vehicles will be taken away. We resisted them and they fled into the bush,” he said.

The report quoted a source as saying the corpses of the killed soldiers have been deposited in a morgue at the Maiduguri Teaching Hospital morgue.

It was learnt that the troops were following some commercial vehicles from Maiduguri to Damboa area when the Boko Haram attacked them and killed eight persons. Two injured soldiers later died.

The insurgents were said to have hijacked two of the commercial buses before fleeing toward the Sambisa area.

Barack Obama warn American that U.S. values are at stake

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Barack Obama has re-entered the political fray just ten days after he handed power over to Mr Trump, stating that he supports mass protests against the "extreme vetting" orders.

"The President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion," Mr Obama's spokesman said in a statement that was the former president's first since leaving office.

"Citizens exercising their Constitutional rights to assemble, organise and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake." 

It is rare for former presidents to criticise their successors - and certainly not just a week and a half after they are sworn in.

Protests continued across America and around the world - including in Britain.

In the US, at least three top national security officials - Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department - have told associates they were not aware of details of the directive until around the time Mr Trump signed it. Leading intelligence officials were also left largely in the dark, according to US officials.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said that despite White House assurances that congressional leaders were consulted, he learned about the order in the media.

Jose Mourinho up at 1pm

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Jose Mourinho will speak to the media this lunchtime ahead of tomorrow's Premier League clash at home to Hull.

The United manager could well have an update on the chances of his side making a last-ditch bid for someone and the latest on the futures of Ashley Young among others.

United have added one new team member today though, that of new scout Radoslaw Kucharski.

Kucharski joins from Legia Warsaw and will search for potential new talent in central and eastern Europe.

Kucharski, who spent 10 years at Legia, is credited with bringing through a numerous youngsters at the club including Arsenal's Krystian Bielik.

Transfer Deadline day rush?

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Morning all. It's transfer deadline day. Manchester United are one of six teams not in action tonight which means their whole day can be dedicated to bringing in those final recruits who can really help them push on between now and the end of the season.

Already this month, the focus has been on trimming the wage bill and recouping cash through sales, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay having left for Everton and Lyon respectively in deals worth a combined £46 million. 

Ashley Young could follow suit, with half a dozen Premier League clubs and Chinese suitors chasing the player. Midfielder Sean Goss joined QPR and goalkeeper Sam Johnstone went on loan to Aston Villa.

United have also been keeping a close eye on Atletico Madrid striker, Antoine Griezmann. Yet the Frenchman looks to be a priority for the summer while Mourinho also wants Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. 

All eyes for now will be on whether captain Wayne Rooney takes up a £32 million a year offer to move to China before the close of their transfer window on Feb 28.

Today sees Rooney emerging as a £20m target for Beijing Guoan - that is according to the Star.

Rooney has previously been linked with a move to MLS, however, the emergence of cash-rice Chinese Super League could be enough to convince him to head east instead.

Second-tier Shenzhen, managed by former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson are also keen on the striker.

Coleman to swap blue for red?

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Well one of the leading bookies are confident the Republic of Ireland international will be swapping the blue of Everton for the red of Manchester United this month.

According to Paddy Power, Colelman is 1/3 to move to United. The 28-year-old has been a firm favourite of United managers gone by with both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal expressing their interests in the right-back.

Now it seems that Mourinho is equally as big a fan of Coleman and could go the whole hog and actually sign him. Well I never.

USA: Google employees stage worldwide walkout over Trump travel policy

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Chanting Google employees launched into a round of "Sergey! Sergey!" Monday afternoon as hundreds of Googlers walked out of their offices at the company's Mountain View, Calif. headquarters to rally in protest of President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Rallies were held at Google offices worldwide and by some counts as many as 2,000 employees took part.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has popped up the day before at San Francisco International Airport, where thousands protested the executive order for hours on Sunday.

No matter how they voted, Republican or Democrat or Independent, many people are "outraged" by Trump's actions, Brin told the crowd who gathered under a clear California sky in a central area of the sprawling campus.

Brin himself came with his family from Russia as a refugee in 1979, fleeing persecution against Jews.

"Some of us might even adopt Pence 2017 bumper stickers," Brin told the crowd to shouts of laughter, alluding to suggestions by those opposed to Trump that vice president Mike Pence would make a better president.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, himself an immigrant from India, also spoke, telling the crowd "the fight will continue." The company and its employees have raised more than $4 million for a crisis fund that will be donated to groups working to support immigrants and refugee rights.

Reuters

Mr. Donald Trump order targeting business rules leaves key regulations untouched

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President Donald Trump signed an order on Monday that will seek to dramatically reduce federal regulations, but the policy will not apply to most of the financial reform rules introduced by the Obama administration.

Trump's latest executive action will require that agencies cut two existing regulations for every new rule introduced and it will set an annual cap on the cost of new regulations.

For the rest of fiscal 2017, the cap will require that the cost of any additional regulations be completely offset by undoing existing rules.

But, the move does not cover independent agencies that crafted many of the rules required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the White House said.

It also would not apply to rules mandated by statutes.

"There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be normalized control," Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office, surrounded by a group of small business owners.

During a meeting with the business owners, Trump described the Dodd-Frank law as "a disaster." He asserted that it was "almost impossible now to start a small business and it's virtually impossible to expand your existing business because of regulations."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday called the executive order a "first step" and said the administration would work with Congress to begin making changes to Dodd-Frank.

Implementing the new regulatory order may be difficult alongside the Trump administration's push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, said Tom Bulleit, head of the healthcare practice in the Washington D.C. office of law firm Ropes & Gray.

As the Congress passes new legislation on healthcare, there will need to be new rules, Bulleit said.

"There's a great deal of regulation that is either expressly required by legislation or is necessary to make the legislation work," he said.

Consumer groups and environmentalists criticized the push to peel back regulations, arguing that it would remove important protections for the public.

Major regulations are typically reviewed by the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before they are issued. That review will continue under this new measure, but agencies will also have to identify what two regulations will be repealed to offset the costs of any new rule.

Harvard Law School Professor Jody Freeman said the new order was "entirely unnecessary," given similar cost-benefit regulatory directives made by past presidents and existing agency processes for reviewing older rules.

"Even it is fairly toothless in the end, it will be a weapon that OMB can use to harass agencies and slow regulation," Freeman said.

The new order does not require that the repeal of the two regulations be done simultaneously with the release of additional rules.

"This vests tremendous power and responsibility in the OMB director to ensure the president's direction in how we manage this across the government," a White House official told reporters before the signing.

Certain categories of regulations will be exempt from this new policy, including those dealing with the military and national security. The OMB director will also have the ability to waive this policy in certain instances.

Trump has tapped U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina to lead the OMB.

Reuters

Members of the Yoruba Patriots Movement meet in Ibadan

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Members of the Yoruba Patriots Movement including a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro; and a former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe met behind closed door on Monday in Ibadan.

Also at the meeting were the National Coordinator of YPM, Oladosu Ladapo, a former Defence Minister, Kayode Olatokunbo, a former deputy governor of Osun State, Fatai Akinbade, Senator Ayo Adeseun, Prof. Soji Adejumo, Wole Oyelese, Saka Balogun and Dotun Oyelade.

Although Bankole and Obanikoro refused to grant interview to pressmen that approached them at the end of the meeting, Ladapo said they met to discuss a common economic agenda for the South-West.

He stated that Obanikoro and Bankole had been saddled with the responsibility of developing a blueprint for the South-West economy.

The meeting followed a colloquium that was held in Ibadan on January 21, where the YPM was inaugurated. At the colloquium were notable Yoruba politicians from all the political parties, including representatives of the South-West governors and former interim chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Bisi Akande.

Asked if the politics of the geopolitical zone was part of their discussions, Ladapo said it would be improper to divulge all that they discussed at the meeting to the public.

He, however, said the meeting looked into various measures to be taken in order to reposition the failing economy of the South-West through an economic summit.

Ladapo said, “We looked at various studies that have been done on the economy of the geopolitical zone and we came up with some measures. The studies show that the South-West is the poorest zone in the country. This is because by 2009, most banks and industries in Nigeria were in the hands of South-West people but because of one policy or the other, today, we virtually have nothing again. You cannot build your economy if you are not an entrepreneur because you will lack the capital to develop a good idea.

“In the production line and agriculture, the zone is behind. We rely too much on food from the northern part of the country even though we have arable land in the South-West. We have youth population that derives meagre income from riding commercial motorcycles even though some of them are graduates.

“We have formed a committee which has Obanikoro, Bankole, Adejumo, Adetokunbo and Dr. Bayo Orire as members. I will coordinate the committee. Another meeting will be called soon. We are reaching out to captains of industries in Nigeria and abroad, present and past governors and politicians in order to move the South-West forward.”

Nigeria Monitor

DSS quizzes and freed Apostle Suleman over alleged inciting comment

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Operatives of the Department of State Services in Abuja, on Monday, interrogated the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries, Apostle Johnson Suleiman, for several hours.

Suleman arrived at the headquarters of the DSS at Asokoro, Abuja, with a few of his followers at 8.34pm.

A former governor, who was said to have assured the security agents that the pastor would honour the invitation, allegedly brought the fiery clergyman to the DSS for questioning.

Unlike in the morning when many of his followers and members of his church stationed themselves around the headquarters of the DSS, just a few of them were around the premises when he visited at night.

The few members who came were seen at Aso Drive in four cars.

In the morning, when he was expected to visit the DSS, several security apparatus were on the ground to allegedly curtail the excesses of the church members who had pledged to follow the preacher to the DSS for interrogation.

Apart from the gun-carrying DSS operatives, policemen drawn from the Anti-Terrorism Squad, riot and regular policemen, both in uniform and plain clothes were also seen around the premises of the DSS headquarters.

Also, regular soldiers, drawn from the Guard Brigade, were present to provide adequate security.

Officers and men of the Guard Brigade came with more than seven vehicles, while no fewer than three Armed Personnel Carriers were also stationed in the area.

A source close to him said the cleric was already preparing to leave for the DSS office before he was asked to delay his coming till 8pm.

As of the time of filing this report, Suleman was still busy writing his statement, but a source close to him said he would be allowed to go home.

“We are leaving here in the next few minutes. He’s not sleeping here,” the source added.

He was later released by the DSS at about 10.48pm

Radio Nigeria

News: Dolphin 'wrapped in clothing' sparks plea in Australia

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The Department of Parks and Wildlife said the bottlenose dolphin was spotted off Bunbury, 170km (106 miles) south of Perth, on Australia Day last week.

A member of the public took images of the animal before alerting authorities.

Australian laws prohibit people from interfering with dolphins or whales without approval.

The public has been urged to report any sightings.

The photos appear to show the dolphin "wrapped" with a shirt or singlet vest, the department said.

"It is unlikely that the dolphin swam into the singlet, so this appears to be an intentional act," it said in a statement.

"This could have been catastrophic for the dolphin if it had covered its blowhole and restricted its breathing.

"Unfortunately the animal has not been seen since."

The department said the maximum penalty under the Wildlife Conservation Act was about A$4000 (£2400, $3000).

BBC

High court rejects Rod Culleton's last-ditch bid to keep Senate seat

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The high court has rejected a last-ditch case from Rodney Culletonto to declare he is still a senator and maintain his pay and privileges until an appeal against his bankruptcy or the high court challenge to his eligibility are concluded.

The court, sitting as the the court of disputed returns, decided on Tuesday to dismiss Culleton’s bid to summon the president of the Senate and declined to grant any order to allow Culleton to continue calling himself a senator.

Speaking after the judgment, Culleton restated his position that he was a senator unless and until a court orders otherwise.

Asked why Justice Stephen Gageler had not found he was a senator, Culleton said: “Well, he didn’t say I wasn’t, either.”

Culleton claimed the decision merely amounted to the court deciding to wait until the judgment in the main case challenging his eligibility, although that was no part of Gageler’s reasoning.

The court’s reasons hinted that a decision in the main case could come before the Senate resumes on 7 February, which may provide the definitive ruling Culleton is not a senator.

Gageler found that Culleton’s bankruptcy fell outside the matter referred to the high court, his annulled conviction for larceny.

Therefore it was not not necessary to restore Culleton’s privileges as a senator in order to preserve the status quo before the high court makes its decision on the larceny conviction.

At a hearing in Canberra on Tuesday morning, Culleton’s counsel, Peter King, told the court that the president of the Senate, Stephen Parry, had no authority to eject Culleton from his position.

Complaining that the commonwealth had referred to “Mr Culleton” in its submissions, King won a small symbolic victory when Gageler said he would continue to refer to him as “Senator Culleton” for the purposes of the case.

Culleton later seized on this outside court to claim that Gageler had acknowledged he was a senator, when no such finding was made.

If Culleton had won the case he might not have remained in the Senate for long. In order to do so, he would had to have won an appeal to the full federal court against his bankruptcy and win the high court case on whether he is ineligible because of a larceny conviction, since annulled, but still on the books at the time of his election.

The attorney general’s counsel, Neil Williams, told the court the case before it dealt only with the narrow question of Culleton’s annulled conviction, not the bankruptcy, so Parry was within his rights to act on the fresh reason for his ineligibility.

Williams argued there was not “irremediable harm” to Culleton’s seat being declared vacant, because the effect was only that Culleton was not being paid. There was no suggestion his seat would be filled until the other cases were resolved, he said.

Culleton’s chief of staff, Margaret Menzel, was present in court. Menzel cleared out Culleton’s parliamentary office on Thursday, but said she and other staff would help him fight on despite the fact they will not be paid from next week.

Gageler said costs for the application would be exempt from any order that the commonwealth pay Culleton’s costs, meaning the former senator will pay his own costs.

The guardian

Nigeria Senate meets today for smooth passage of 2017 budget

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Senator Ahmad Lawan has told Nigerians that the 2017 budget would be smoothly and promptly passed, just as he said that the leadership will meet today with chairmen of committees on the way forward for the budget.
Speaking with journalists yesterday, Senator Lawan, said that after the meeting which would ensure a seamless budget process, committees would then commence with budget defence, adding that the meeting with committee chairs would pave the way for the committees to do their job which is aimed at passing the budget as soon as possible. Senator Lawan, who noted that it was obvious that Nigerians were waiting anxiously for the 2017 budget to be passed, said: “The leadership will meet tomorrow (today) with committee chairmen on the way forward for the budget.
”After the meeting, committees will begin the budget defence. We don’t envisage any issue. Everybody has learned his lesson. We are all working for the smooth passage of the budget.” Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had on Thursday last week announced that the Senate leadership would meet with committee chairmen after plenary,  but the meeting was shifted to today. It is expected that the meeting would lay the template for the budget defence with ministries, departments and agencies. The meeting will also draw the time table for the budget defence. It is expected that the Senate will use the period of its break to conclude the budget defence to pave way for the passage of the fiscal proposal its resumption on February 21.

NASENI develops solar-powered electronic voting machine for 2019 poll

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The Electronic Development Institute, ELDI, Awka, Anambra State, has developed a solar-powered electronic voting machine for the 2019 general election. Presenting the device to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, in Abuja, yesterday, Vice Chairman of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, told the minister that the innovation was inspired by his (minister’s) request on the agency to develop a tamper proof electronic machine for general election. He explained that the new voting machine was an improvement on the existing Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC process. Illustrating the machine, the NASENI boss said the novel technology with cloud-based election result collation system was developed using computer based computing which addresses most of the current electoral challenges with several advantages. Haruna said the machine, which comes with many advantages, has the capacity to eliminate ballot snatching, multiple thump printing, failure of card reader and alteration of data between polling units and collation centres. He explained that the device makes provision for real time election result  as voting progresses, adding that it also has provision for diaspora voting and incorporates facial recognition, radio frequency identification device options of voter’s identification in addition to thump print and card reader. The solar powered electronic voting system, according to him, is a home grown technology built on  the gains of the present INEC voting system  that permits all federal, state and local government elections  to be conducted in one day with a voter spending between 50 to 90 seconds to cast his/her votes for both executive and legislative elections. The system was designed to permit real time display of result as voting progress, if the electoral body so desires, while eliminating human errors.

Senator Saraki advices NGOs to Partner with govt on North-East development

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The Nigeria Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has advised all humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organisations, NGOs, operating in the North-East region of the country to always liaise with government agencies to help ease administrative bottlenecks in the course of their duties
The Senate President, while receiving the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, WFP, Ms. Ertharin Cousin, who led other members of the organisation on a visit to the National Assembly, urged humanitarian agencies to always collaborate with security agencies to ensure their safety at every point during their stay in the country. While responding to comments by the WFP Executive Director, Saraki said such collaboration with different levels of governments in the country would help ease some of the administrative challenges the NGOs may encounter in their line of duty, especially on security and importation of their equipment.
According to the Senate President, “the collaborative efforts will help us play our part very well by providing the necessary counterpart initiatives.” Dr. Saraki also called for a sustained humanitarian effort to address the challenges facing internally displaced persons, IDPs in the North-east, while urging the WFP to help ensure that the food crisis in the IDP camps are reduced. Earlier, the WFP Executive Director complained that her organisation encountered some administrative bottlenecks in the importation of the equipment needed in the course of its duties and sought the intervention of the Senate President to ease the challenges. Ms. Cousin said the WFP is providing high yield seedlings to the displaced persons in the North-East, explaining that the intervention is to ensure food security in the region. She explained that over one million people had benefited from the provision of assorted seedlings and that between January and April this year the number would increase from 1.3 million to 1.8 million, following the joint efforts with the various states’ ministries of agriculture.

Emir of Kano advice Northerners that, ‘If You Can’t Take Care Of Your Children, Don’t Give Birth’

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The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has called on Northerners to give birth to only the number of children they can cater for.

He said this when he spoke at the 60th Anniversary, Founder’s Day Lecture and Magazine Launch of Kaduna Capital School.

“You are allowed to marry two wives if you can maintain them. You are also allowed to produce 100 children if you can maintain and educate them, but if you cannot, please marry the number of wives you can maintain and produce the number of children you can take care of. We are obsessed by number as anything produced en masse is cheap. We have produced all these children like commodities They are there on the streets and that is why they die and people don’t care because they have no value. They are also on drugs and people don’t care” he said

Revcontent partner with Google on AMP

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Revcontent's CEO and founder, John Lemp (pictured left), has announced the company’s latest partnership – a strategic initiative with Google to create a better mobile experience for users through Google's AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project. Revcontent’s partnership with Google is the latest step in Revcontent’s mission to create a better user experience across the web. With Google AMP pages loading 85% faster than standard mobile web pages, many types of advertisements are not allowed because they slow down load times and create a poor user experience. Revcontent’s technology loads as quickly as AMP pages for a seamless and unintrusive user experience.

ne of the first content recommendation networks to partner with Google, Richard Iwanik-Marques, Revcontent VP of Marketing, explains, “The product innovations and value-added offerings Google has consistently given consumers makes them a perfect compliment to Revcontent on the partnership side.

“Creating a seamless, lightning-fast user experience on mobile devices is paramount as eyeballs continue to move toward smaller screens. Google AMP is a massive leap in that direction – and with our widgets, publishers can maintain sustainable, high-revenue streams, while also giving consumers a memorable content discovery experience they will enjoy.”

Reuters

Mexico government sees signs of U.S. change on wall payment

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There are signs the U.S. government is taking a more flexible view of how to pay for its planned border wall with Mexico, and new meetings to craft future bilateral relations could take place soon, a top Mexican official said on Monday.

Those ties were shaken last week when a planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was canceled after the American said it was better to forgo it if Mexico was unwilling to pay for the wall.

Trump wants a wall on the U.S. southern border to keep out illegal immigrants and says Mexico will pay for it. Mexico has flatly refused, making the issue a point of national pride.

Pena Nieto and Trump spoke by telephone to calm tensions on Friday, and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the two administrations were in close contact and would talk this week.

"Dialogue has not broken off," he said. "It's an extraordinarily important relationship for Mexico."

While no date has been set for a new Pena Nieto-Trump summit, meetings between government officials are possible in the next few days, said Videgaray, who expressed confidence that the White House was modifying its view on payment of the wall.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on Sunday that payment for the wall was still under discussion, mentioning the possibility of a border tax and other fiscal measures.

"It could be on drug cartels," Priebus added on CBS' "Face the Nation." "And it could be on people that are coming here illegally and paying fines. Or it could be all of the above."

While cautioning he had no details of what those plans could involve, Videgaray was heartened by the comments.
The minister said "a very sizeable part" of the business done by drug gangs was in the United States.

Trump has threatened to ditch the North American Free Trade Agreement binding Mexico, the United States and Canada, and Mexico's government wants to defend its access to the U.S. market by bringing migration and security into discussions.

In a separate video statement on Monday, Pena Nieto promised to better protect migrants north of the border, by channeling over 1 billion pesos ($48.16 million) into Mexican consulates in the United States.

The comments came after Videgaray said the country's fresh steps to support Mexicans living in the United States were not aimed at obstructing law enforcement there.

Mexico announced some measures, such as expanding the availability of mobile consulate services to reach more migrants in November, after Trump's surprise win.

Reuters

Nigeria Customs Service intercepted 661 pieces of pump-action rifles through Lagos

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The Nigeria Customs Service intercepted 661 pieces of pump-action rifles from China, concealed with steel doors and other merchandise goods, which came in through Lagos port, an official said.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, made the disclosure while briefing journalists on Monday in Lagos.

Mr. Ali said that the Federal Operations Unit, while on patrol, intercepted a Mark truck with registration number BUG 265 XG conveying a 40ft container with number; PONU/825914/3 along Mile 2 Apapa Road, Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the consignment was cleared from Lagos port.

The comptroller-general said the truck was immediately taken to F.O.U. premises for physical examination and 49 boxes containing 661 pieces of pump action rifles concealed with steel doors were revealed.

Mr. Ali said the rifles were under absolute prohibition, adding that its importation was illegal.

“Such deadly contravention of the law is even more unacceptable considering the fragile security situation in some parts of the country.

“Already three suspects have been arrested in connection with this illegal importation,” NAN quotes the comptroller-general as saying.

The suspects are: Oscan Okafor (an importer), Mahmud Haruna (a clearing agent), and Sadique Mustapha (accompanying the consignment to its destination).

Mr. Ali said initially the consignment was said to have originated from Turkey, adding that there was a mix-up in the document which finally revealed that the consignment originated from China.

“Investigation has already commenced and I have directed that the drag net should be wide enough to fish out all persons involved in the importation and clearing of the consignment, ‘’ NAN quotes Mr. Ali as saying.

He said Customs officers who were involved in the clearance of the containers were in the custody of Comptroller Mahmud Haruna of FOU Zone “A’’

Mr. Ali said that the seizure underscored the determination of the service to enforce all laws relating to importation and exportation of goods into and out the country thereby contributing to the economy, security and well-being of the country.

The comptroller-general said that the seizure was commendable and represented the new normal rule in the service “where most officers and men are on a daily basis ensuring that illegalities are not allowed unchecked’’.

He commended the Comptroller in charge of F.O.U. and officers and men who were involved in the seizure.

Mr. Ali, however, urged the media as well as meaningful Nigerians to help the service with information that would assist the service perform its statutory responsibilities in the interest of Nigeria.

He said the seizure would be handed over to the appropriate authority.

(NAN)

FG signs AU’s cross border convention

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Nigeria government on Sunday in Addis Ababa signed the African Union Convention on Cross Border Corporation geared at peaceful resolution of border disputes.

It was signed on the side line at the on-going 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

The Niamey Convention, which was adopted in 2014, is to promote Cross Border Corporation at local, sub-regional and regional levels.

It is aimed at ensuring peaceful resolution of border disputes.

It is also to ensure effective and effective border management.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Godfery Oyeama, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, said the action was a demonstration of the country’s commitment to ensure peace on the continent.

“We do so by signing this agreement to join the list of countries that have appended their signatures to the convention.

“Hopefully we believe that as we appended our signature, the convention would soon come into force within shortest period as possible and all these in the interest of member states.

“On the part of the Nigeria Government, I will like to assure that we will do everything possible on our side to abide by the rule of this convention,” he said.

He noted with satisfaction that the convention would help member states to settle boundary disputes.

He expressed belief that this would be done with manner of fraternity and without any recourse to force, adding that this will recall enforcing the spirit of brotherhood that will promote on this continent.

“This occasion also marks another mile stone in our efforts to reinforce, strengthen and support the African Union to move towards peace.

“As we say once we stand united Africa can achieve anything and when we are divided this is every chance that we will fall and will fail so we will continue as a country to work for the progress of peace and stability on the African continent,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria is the 11th country to sign the convention, which has been ratified by two countries so far.

In another development, the Minister of State, Hajia Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, has expressed optimism that Nigeria’s election as the Chairperson of AU Peace and Security Commission would be successful.

The event is scheduled to hold on Jan. 30.

She said the country had done its homework effectively in that regard.

The minister expressed satisfaction with the deliberations so far going on at the summit.

(NAN)

Solomon Dalung, on Sunday announced the death of his wife

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Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung, on Sunday announced the death of his wife.

The minister made the announcement on his Facebook page.

In a short statement he posted on the social media platform, Dalung said: “I AM BEREAVED:

“For it is appointed for man to live thereafter comes death and judgment says the Holy Bible. While in the Quran, it states that it is appointed that every soul shall test death.

“My heart is heavy, I cannot continue, I lost my first wife this morning. May her soul and the souls of faithful departed rest in the bosom of the Lord, amen.

“What a black Sunday”.

Osinbajo, issues stern warning to religious leaders, others to stop dividing Nigeria with war of words

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has advised Nigerian leaders, religious and political to work for the unity of Nigeria than allow themselves be torn apart by temptations.

The Nigeria Television Authority reports that Osinbajo made this known in a statement from his office.

According to the report, Osinbajo also reaffirmed the commitment of the federal government to defending the rule of law and protecting the lives of Nigerians no matter their religious or ethnic background.
Osinbajo also warned that defaulters must be made to face the full wrath of the law despite the limitations of the criminal justice system in the country.

He also noted that with President Muhammadu Buhari’s instruction to security agencies, military and the police to send reinforcements to southern Kaduna to enforce peace, things will soon be all right.

Osinbajo then charged all Nigerians to work together to find a lasting solution to the crisis and resist the temptation to succumb to divisive tendencies

Recall that just some days ago, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) sent a message to Osinbajo, calling on him to defend Christians as he is in office to do so.

In a statement by Bayo Oladeji, special assistant on media to the CAN president Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, the religious body said the issues of the DSS trying to arrest Apostle Johnson Suleman was a slap on the faces on Christians and wondered why Osinbajo who is also a Christian is keeping quiet about it.

Federal government has said that $50 billion is needed to recharge the shrinking Lake Chad Basin

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The federal government has said that $50 billion is needed to recharge the drying Lake Chad.

The Nigerian government alongside its Republic of Chad counterpart has called on the African Union and other international donors to assist in raising the money.

Speaking on the drying basin, the minister of foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyeama said the call was made at the summit of the heads of states and government of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) alongside of the ongoing 28th AU Summit.

Onyeama said an agreement was also made by Nigeria and Chad to host a formal international donor conference on the Lake Chad shrinking which he said is already affecting 30 million people.

He said conference will focus on recharging the Lake Chad and having a direct engagement with possible donors.

He also said that the review which consists of 33 countries is a self-monitoring policy to ensure social, economic and political development among member states

“We recognized the role that Chad has been playing in the framework of the International Joint Task Force and we pointed out the impact of the Boko Haram on the task force,” Onyeama said.

“On the question of Chad, we pointed out that the Lake had shrunk to about 10 per cent and has had catastrophic effect on the people living in that area.

“And the challenge is how to address such situation, I pointed out that what Nigeria is looking at in that context is the possibility of recharging the lake from a river from Central Africa, the Rangin River,” he said.

He said the Nigerian government had already paid $5 million for a research on the lake while it will cost $15 million to carry out a comprehensive feasibility study on recharging the lake.

“The cost of recharging is in the neighbourhood of $15 billion to 20 billion. I pointed out that we are looking at the possibility of organizing international donor conference to look for fund to addressing this issue.

“The environmental impact and the negative aspect, the President of Chad, Idriss Deby, followed up with us also elaborated on the issue, calling on the world to assist us in addressing the Lake Chad issue.

“Because there is ecological issue, there is environmental issue, social and of course we have seen that we can also have illegal migration of the youth and also war within the area," Onyeama said.

Nigeria National Assembly to create 25 new federal agencies

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The National Assembly is planning to create about 25 additional federal agencies.

If the reports from Daily Trust are to be believed, the National Assembly has approved the creation of North East Development Commission (NEDC), a body charged with the reconstruction efforts of the insurgency ravaged region.

Here is a list of other agencies, some of them are two in one:

1. Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

2. Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal.

Also in order to address the bloody herders/farmers clashes in the country, they plan to create two bodies namely:

3. Grazing Areas Management Agency

4. National Ranches Commission.

There are also plans to create research bodies and an entrepreneurship centre, such as:

5. National Council for Research and Development

6. National Research and Innovation Foundation

7. National Research and Innovation Council

8. Federal Entrepreneurship Centre

Two federal capital agencies are also in the works:

9. FCT Traffic Management and Enforcement Authority (TMEA) and

10. FCT Resettlement, Integration and Development Commission

Others include:

11. The National Transport Commission

12. Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport of Nigeria

13. National Council on Occupational Safety and Health, and

14. National Marine Insurance Bureau.

The lawmakers also have plans to create the following:

15. Institute of Chartered Biochemists and Molecular Biologists of Nigeria

16. Nigerian Independent Warehouse Regulatory Agency

17. National Agency for Ethics and Values

18. Chartered Institute for Trade and Investment of Nigeria.

Lastly, there are plans for:

19. Unemployed Youths, Elderly and Indigent Sustainability Allowances Trust Fund

20. Nigerian Assets Management Agency

21. Private Security Regulatory Agency of Nigeria

22. Border Patrol Agency

(Naij.com)

Presidency response to USA immigration policy

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The policy aims to treat countries the same way Americans are treated as regards visa issuance. Nigeria only offers a one-year visa to Americans at the moment while American used to offer a 2-year visa to Nigerians.

According to Vanguard, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in reaction to the visa ban on Sunday, January 29, said: “It is not a presidency matter.”

A critical analysis by Naij.com shows that Nigerians who hold dual nationality will be affected if their other passport is from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen the seven Muslim-majority countries “of concern”.

Recall that barely a week after the inauguration of Trump as the president of the United States, he approved some executive orders that include visa denial for citizens of Syria and six other middle East and African countries.

There had been a widespread uproar during Trump's campaign when he proposed a temporary ban on Muslims migrating to the United States, this he believed, would protect the citizens from jihadist attacks.

But rather than place a ban on those of a specific religion, Trump and his nominee for attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, have agreed to focus on restrictions instead, with special focus on countries whose migrants could pose a threat.

Member Nazi Propagandist Joseph Goebbels’ Secretary Dead at 106

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Brunhilde Pomsel, a former secretary of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, has died. She was 106.

Pomsel lived most of her life in relative obscurity until a German newspaper published an interview with her in 2011, prompting a flurry of interest in one of the last surviving members of the Nazi leadership's inner circle.

Her death was confirmed Sunday to The Associated Press by Christian Kroenes, a director and producer of the film "A German Life."

In the documentary, Pomsel talks about her three years working for the man responsible for spreading Adolf Hitler's ideology in newspapers and across the airwaves.

Kroenes said Pomsel had been lucid when he last spoke to her on her birthday Jan. 11. He says she died in her sleep at her Munich home Friday.

Philippines to suspend drug war to clean up 'corrupt' police

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Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday that anti-drug units would be dissolved.

It comes after the murder of a South Korean businessman inside police headquarters. He had been kidnapped and killed by anti-drug police.

More than 7,000 people have been killed since the crackdown on drugs began.

The death toll and President Rodrigo Duterte's hardline stance against drugs have attracted intense criticism from human rights groups and Western countries, although the president continues to enjoy a high level of support among Filipinos.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Dela Rosa said Mr Duterte "told us to clean the organisation first".

"We will cleanse our ranks... then maybe after that, we can resume our war on drugs."

Mr Duterte has made tackling drug use in the Philippines a central part of his presidency.

He had initially promised to eradicate the problem by December, then extended the deadline to March this year.

But he told reporters at a press conference late on Sunday: "I will extend it to the last day of my term... March no longer applies." Mr Duterte's term ends in 2022.

He said he had underestimated the depth of the drug problem.

BBC

John Lynch as general manager is 49 years' ultimate gamble

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The San Francisco 49ers better hope their big bet on John Lynch as general manager pays off.

If it doesn't, good luck getting any respected personnel man to take on the next overhaul, as long as the same folks are calling the shots.

People in the league talk, and a lot of them are going to have a bad taste from the 49ers' nearly month-long, coast-hopping search to replace Trent Baalke (and Chip Kelly).

That's what happens when you conduct close to a dozen interviews with GM candidates -- flying Minnesota's George Paton and Arizona's Terry McDonough to Atlanta for second interviews with expected head coach pick Kyle Shanahan over the weekend before the 49ers hired Lynch on Sunday -- only to settle on a guy you could've found by turning on the TV.

Basically, Jed York, Paraag Marathe and whoever else is influencing the team's decision-making process took up a lot of people's time test-driving SUVs for a month and then bought a sports car.

Nothing against Lynch, 45, who is praised as a man and a football mind by seemingly everybody who knows him. It's impossible to judge what he will be as a GM when he has literally no track record, other than having been an all-pro safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and a standout for the Denver Broncos under coach Mike Shanahan — as well as an analyst for the NFL on Fox. 

The game changed a couple weeks ago when the 49ers zeroed in on Shanahan's talented son, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, as their next head coach. (That happened after New England's Josh McDaniels dropped out, and while 49ers brass was still in Seattle interviewing potential GMs to pair with another coaching candidate, Tom Cable).

It's expected Lynch will hire an experienced personnel man — former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik is a logical target — to run the scouting side underneath him, which should help the transition. The roster is a teardown, and Lynch has a rare six-year contract to get it done. (Shanahan is likely to get the same.)

Nobody had seen a search process quite like this, in which a series of coach and GM candidates made a point of withdrawing publicly and leaks of "favorites" for both jobs seemed to shift as the field narrowed. York's mother, Denise DeBartolo York, was calling coaching candidates (which is her right as an owner), adding to suspicions about who really had final say.

The smartest man in all of this might be Chris Ballard, who declined the 49ers' interview request through the Kansas City Chiefs, then was hired swiftly on Sunday as GM of the Indianapolis Colts — a superior job — eight days after fired Ryan Grigson was fired.

For all the recent upheaval, the 49ers job had enough going for it for York and company to get an audience with many other candidates who had been on short lists around the league.

Fail with this gambit, and it could be tough next time just to get somebody on the plane.

(Culled from USA Today)

"mosque attack that killed 6 is terrorism" - Canada prime Minister

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Canada’s prime minister said early Monday that a shooting at a Quebec City mosque during evening prayers that killed six people and injured eight was an act of terrorism.

"We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge," Justin Trudeau said in a statement. "It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear."

The incident took place Sunday night. More than 50 people were in the mosque at the time of the assault. Police said two suspects were arrested and they don't believe there are further suspected perpetrators at large.

The identities of the suspects were not released and a motive has not been been established.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said in a press conference that the "Muslim community was the target of this murderous attack."

It comes amid heightened tensions worldwide over President Trump’s ban on admitting refugees and travel restrictions on certain Muslim countries.

"Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country," Trudeau said in his statement. "Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance."

In response to Trump's refugee and travel ban, Trudeau on Saturday had posted a message on Twitter saying, "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada."

Since Trudeau's election in 2015, 39,000 Syrian refugees have been admitted to Canada.

Authorities in Canada said that there would be an increased police presence around mosques following the attack and the New York Police Department said it would also increase patrols at mosques and other houses of worship. "Our prayers tonight are with the people of Quebec City," New York City Mayor Bill Blasio said in a tweet.

In June, the same mosque was targeted in a hate crime during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In that incident, a worshipper found a pig's head left at the mosque's doorstep. It was accompanied by a note that read, "Bon appétit," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Islam prohibits pork consumption.

USA Today

At least, ten thousands in U.S. cities protest Trump immigration order

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Tens of thousands of people rallied in U.S. cities and at airports on Sunday to voice outrage over President Donald Trump's executive order restricting entry into the country for travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations.

In New York, Washington and Boston, a second wave of demonstrations followed spontaneous rallies that broke out at U.S. airports on Saturday as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents began enforcing Trump's directive. The protests spread westward as the day progressed.

The order, which bars admission of Syrian refugees and suspends travel to the United States from Syria, Iraq, Iran and four other countries on national security grounds, has led to the detention or deportation of hundreds of people arriving at U.S. airports.

One of the largest of Sunday's protests took place at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, long a symbol of welcome to U.S. shores.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York told the crowd that Trump's order was un-American and ran counter to the country's core values.

"What we are talking about here is life and death for so many people," the Senate Democratic leader said. "I will not rest until these horrible orders are repealed."

The march, estimated to have grown to about 10,000 people, later began heading to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in lower Manhattan.

In Washington, thousands rallied at Lafayette Square across from the White House, chanting: "No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here."

It was the second straight weekend that Washington was the scene of protests. Last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of women participated in an anti-Trump rally and march, one of dozens staged across the country.

On Sunday, many of the protesters left the White House area and marched along Pennsylvania Avenue, stopping at the Trump International Hotel where they shouted: "Shame, shame, shame."

A crowd that police estimated at 8,000 people eventually arrived at the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where a line of uniformed officers stood guard.

As the crowd passed the Canadian Embassy en route to the Capitol, protesters chanted: "Hey hey, ho ho, I wish our leader was Trudeau." It was a reference to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Saturday Twitter message affirming his country's welcoming policy toward refugees.

Trump defended the executive order in a statement on Sunday, saying the United States would resume issuing visas to all countries once secure policies were put in place over the next 90 days.

"To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting," Trump said. "This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe."

Aria Grabowski, 30, of Washington, was carrying a sign that read: “Never again means never again for everyone.”

Above the slogan was a photograph of Jewish refugees who fled Germany in 1939 on a ship that was turned away from Havana, Cuba, and forced to return to Europe. More than 250 people aboard the ship were eventually killed by the Nazis.

About 200 protesters chanted on Sunday afternoon at Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia near the U.S. capital.

About the same number gathered at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, where anxious families awaited relatives detained for hours after flights from countries affected by the presidential order.

At Los Angeles International Airport, police estimated 4,000 demonstrators crowded into and around terminals to protest Trump's order, as chants of "refugees are welcome here" echoed through the arrivals hall.

Organizers estimated that more than 10,000 people packed Boston's Copley Square to hear Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a vocal critic of Trump and a leader of the Democratic Party's liberal wing, and other speakers.

During the protests, dozens of Muslims, some of them kneeling on protest signs, bowed in prayer on rugs laid out on a grassy patch of ground in the square.

In Houston, which was already filling up with visitors for next Sunday's Super Bowl, about 500 people marched through the downtown.

Jennifer Fagen, 47, a sociology professor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, said she hoped she did not lose her job for protesting.

"I'm Jewish, and it's supposed to be 'never again,'" Fagen said, referring to the Holocaust. "Jews should be the first ones to defend Muslims, considering what has happened to us, and it seems it's being repeated under Trump."

At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, police cordoned off sections of terminal as up to 3,000 demonstrators chanted, "No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here."

Among the demonstrators were Wail Aljirafi and his wife, Samyeh Zindani of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and their three children.

"We want them to feel that they're always included," Zindani, a Yemeni-American, told Reuters.

In the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Michigan, home to a large number of Yemeni immigrant families and the nation's first Muslim-majority city council, at least 600 people rallied outside City Hall.

Rama Alhoussaini, 23, a Syrian immigrant who lives in nearby Dearborn, said she and her family emigrated to Michigan in 1999 when she was 6 years old.

"Now for us to see this kind of hatred and bigotry, it breaks my heart," she said. "It makes me feel like I am not wanted here."

(Reuters)

Miss France was crowned Miss Universe

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Iris Mittenaere, a dental surgery student from Lille in the north of France, beat 85 of the world's most beautiful women at the event in the Philippines scheduled for primetime viewing in the United States.

Mittenaere, 24, edged out Miss Haiti, the first runner-up, and Miss Colombia the second runner-up.

In the final question round, Miss France highlighted the benefits of open borders when asked about the global refugee crisis.

"In France we want to have the most globalisation that we can. We want to have the biggest exchange of people that we can. Maybe someday that will change but now we have open borders," Mittenaere said.

"Having open borders allows us to travel more through the world and to find out more about what's out there in the world."

Miss Kenya, another finalist, said Donald Trump's presidency "may not have been the choice of many people" and divided the United States.

She also spoke out in support of former US president Barack Obama and said she backed Hillary Clinton to be America's first woman president.

"I feel once he took up his position, he was able to unify the entire nation," said Mary Esther Were, 27.

Miss Colombia appeared to allude to Trump when asked why violence was prevalent in the world.

"Although there are presidents who don't get along with others, we work together to unite. Campaigns, respect and inclusivity to be able to have a social transformation that would educate our children," said Andrea Tovar, 23.

Monday's show was headlined by US performers including Grammy award-winning rhythm and blues group Boyz II Men and rapper and Grammy award nominee Flo Rida.

Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines won last year following a major blunder in which the host -- Emmy Award winner Steve Harvey -- mistakenly awarded the title to Miss Colombia.

Harvey corrected the error minutes later, apologising on air to Wurtzbach and Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez.

The mistake featured prominently on Monday's show, with candidates and the home audience often ribbing Harvey about it.

"Steve, I never got to thank you but thank you for making me the most popular Miss Universe," Wurtzbach told Harvey at the opening of show.

Harvey this year got through the closing moments of the ceremony smoothly.

The Philippines agreed to host the pageant as part of efforts to draw tourists and investors.

Beauty pageants are also hugely popular in the Philippines, particularly among the tens of millions of poor who see the contests as a chance for their beautiful compatriots to live a life of fame and luxury.

But allowing the Philippines to host has proved controversial, with critics claiming the pageant would whitewash Duterte's brutal drug war, which has left more than 6,000 people dead.

Environmentalists also hit out at pageant organisers for letting the bikini-clad contestants swim last month with endangered whale sharks.

Despite the controversies, excited fans from across the globe lined up before dawn to watch the pageant, which was held in the morning Manila time for the coveted prime American evening viewing audiences.

Fans dressed in evening gowns with a sash took selfies outside the seaside arena where the competition was held while others organised viewing parties in hotels and restaurants in the capital.

(AFP)

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