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News, Politics

Court Fixed April 29 For Hearing Of Maj. Al-Mustapha’s Appeal

The Court of Appeal Lagos, on Friday fixed April 29 to hear an appeal by Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, sentenced to death for masterminding the murder of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.

Al-Mustapha, who was the Chief Security Officer to the late Gen. Sanni Abacha and Lateef Shofolahan, a Personal Assistant to late Abiola, are challenging their conviction by a Lagos High Court on Jan. 30, 2012.

The appellate court, presided over by Justice Chima Nweze, fixed the hearing date after counsel representing both convicts had applied for a regularisation of their briefs of argument.

Counsel representing the appellants, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN) and Mr Olalekan Ojo, had both applied for leave to file their  brief of arguments and serve same on the respondent.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convicts were arraigned sometime in October 1999, on a four-count charge of conspiracy and murder of Abiola on June 4, 1996 on the Ikosi-Ketu Road.

The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada had found both appellants guilty of the offence and sentenced them to death by hanging.

However, Daudu and Ojo, counsel to both the first and second appellants respectively, appealed against the conviction 24-hours after the sentence.

In the notice of appeal filed by Ojo, the appellants were contending that the death sentence handed by the lower court was unwarranted, unreasonable and a manifest miscarriage of justice.

The appellants further contended that the trial judge erred in law by arriving at the conclusion that they conspired to kill Abiola on June 4, 1996.

The appellants are therefore praying the Court of Appeal to entertain the appeal, set aside the judgment and discharge them of the charges of conspiracy and murder.

NAN further reports that Al-Mustapha’s appeal was premised on four grounds, while that of his co-convict (Shofolahan) was hinged on five grounds.

They faulted the trial judge’s admissibility of the “contradictory statements” of Barnabas Jabila (aka Sgt. Rogers) and Mohmamed Abdul, and the reliance on the testimony of Dr Ore Falomo on the bullet extracted from the corpse.

The appellants also faulted the rejection of portions of Jabila’s testimony which they felt favoured them and applying only areas which did not favour them. (NAN)

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Cover Stories, News

How Goldie, “Our Darling Music Star” Died – Kennis Music

Chief Executive Officer of Kennis Music, Kenny Ogungbe has described as shocking, the death of Sensational Musician and former BBA housemate, Goldie Harvey. Kennis was her record label.

An official statement from Ogungbe read: “With a deep sense of loss, we announce the shocking death of our darling music star, Goldie Harvey. Goldie, 31, died on Thursday after she complained of a severe headache shortly after her arrival from the United States where she went to witness the Grammy Award. She was rushed from her Park View, Ikoyi, Lagos residence to her official hospital, Reddington, Victoria Island, Lagos, where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival at exactly 7:30pm in the evening.

“We consider this period a gloomy moment for us and the entire Nigerian music industry in view of the circumstance in which she passed away; the abundance of talent she exhibited in her short but eventful music career and the various opportunities her trip to the United States of America would have availed her. She is survived by her father, step- mother, brothers and sisters.

“We deeply sympathise with her family and fans all over the world and very grateful to all and sundry, especially, the vibrant Nigerian media for their concern and prompt reportage. We shall keep everybody informed as events unfold as we are devastated by the sudden loss.”

Goldie’s remains has been deposited at the mortuary.

Read more later.

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News, Politics

Adamawa Govt. To Sack Unqualified Teachers

Adamawa Government on Friday in Yola said it had set up a screening committee to flush out unqualified teachers in its public schools.

Mr Musa Kaibo, the state Head of Civil Service, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the measure followed a recent mass recruitment of teachers by the state Post Primary Schools Board.

“A report reaching my office is that government had decided to set up a powerful investigation and screening committee with the aim of flushing out unprofessional teachers from the sector.” 

Kaibo noted that government had invested a lot in the education sector.

He said that what happened during the last teachers’ recruitment needed to be reviewed, to facilitate proper implementation of education policy in the state.

He said the screening was not meant to witch hunt any body or group, but rather, was a step forward to address the issues militating against the development of education.

The head of service, therefore, urged those involved to exercise patience as their salaries would be paid after the exercise.

The state government had in the last two years established 230 new junior secondary schools and recruited more than 5,000 teachers.(NAN)

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News, Politics

Rivers Govt. To Spend N74bn On Monorail Project

The Rivers Commissioner for Transport, George Tolofari, has said that the state government will spend N74 billion on its monorail project to ease traffic in Port Harcourt.

Tolofari made the remark while conducting the team of Good Governance Tour, led by Information Minister Labaran Maku, round the project site.

He said that out of the amount, N19 billion had been spent so far on the first phase of the project, covering 6.5 km.

Tolofari said that all the equipment needed for the completion of Phase 1 had been acquired, including the train with seven coaches, out of which one would be dedicated to the handicapped.

According to him, the second phase has five coaches.

“The monorail is designed in such a way that people from the town will park their vehicles at Lagos bus-stop and use the train to go wherever they want to go in the city.

“We are expecting that this first phase will be completed by September,” he said.

The team also visited Kesley Harrison Hospital and Dental Maxillo Facial Hospital, built by the state government at a cost of N2 billion each.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker who conducted the team round the two hospitals situated in Port Harcourt, said that they were referral institutions.

Parker said that the institutions have the state-of-the-art equipment with Kesley Hospital having 150 beds. (NAN)

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Football, News, Sports

Uduaghan Hosts Super Eagles, Rewards Keshi With Land, Building

Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan has commended the Super Eagles for their wonderful performance that earned them the trophy of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament held in South Africa.

Uduaghan, who gave the commendation when the Super Eagles paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday in Asaba, noted that Nigerians did not give the team any chance of doing well in the championship.

He expressed delight that the team surprised everybody by bringing the trophy home and did not allow the situation to discourage them.

Uduaghan commended Coach Stephen Keshi for his leadership role and assured the team of the Delta government’s support.

The governor announced that a parcel of land had been approved for Keshi and that the state would not only provide the land but would also build the house.

“We are not just giving the land, we will also ensure that we put the structure in place; this will enable you to visit home frequently,’’ he said.

Uduaghan called for the mentoring of young players “since it is the younger ones that will take over from the present crop of players’’.

Responding, Keshi expressed delight at being honoured by his state government.

“I am truly happy to be here; I am glad to be in my own state and whatever we did in South Africa was for all Nigerians.

“When I took over this job, my aim was to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians,’’ he said.

He thanked Uduaghan and the government of Delta for the land and proposed building.

 

              

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Education, News

Poor Performance In Mathematics, English Worries Govt.

The Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike,  on Thursday said  the poor performance of students in mathematics and English Language had given the Federal Government cause for concern.

Wike made the statement in Abuja at a meeting of the Steering Committee on Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE) Nigeria Project.

He said that if Nigeria was to attain its vision 20:2020, improving teaching and learning in mathematics, English language and sciences would be vital.

The minister said that poor performance in the subjects, especially at the basic level, would hamper the building of a solid foundation for the Nigerian child.

He said the role mathematics and sciences played in building human capacity for national development in a technology-driven global economy could not be over-emphasised.

Wike said the meeting would enable the committee to assess the project and its implementation to take decisions on the success of the second phase of the project.

He urged the committee to ensured full implementation of the activities ear-marked in the project document.

He also urged the Department of Technology and Science Education to work with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other stakeholders to evolve strategies to enhance timely completion of the project.

“The report of our Japanese counterpart of April last year for the mid-term review evaluation of the project, drew my attention to the challenges of the project.

“It made me to constitute a bilateral task team to assess the progress of the report on the  project, identify the gaps and challenges based on the assessment.

“I, therefore, proposed strategies for accelerating the process of the project implementation and to prepare a memo to the National Economic Council on the SMASE Nigeria Project”.

 

 

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Education, News

Obasanjo Advocates Quality Education For Women

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday called for the provision of quality reproductive health services for women in the country.

Obasanjo made the call at the first Dr Abel Guobadia Memorial Lecture, organised by the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, in Benin.

He named some of the services needed to be provided by government as medical care, family planning, delivery care and treatment as well as prevention of sexually transmitted infection.

The former president added that “until we are able to have the issue elevated and addressed, we will not be dealing with the issue on the basis of root, stem and branch solution”.

“The beginning of such solution will be giving the girl-child education a pride of place and the seriousness it truly deserves.

“`Education is core in resolving a lot of the questions and challenges around women’s health.

“The person who said `educate a woman and you educate a nation’ could not have phrased or captured it better.

“And I strongly believe that even more now than ever. Your work here in this centre is highly desirous, if we must make a headway that is meaningful to our society.’’

He said government also needed to ensure that there was improvement in the social and political conditions of women, rather than emphasise on the increase of their numerical strength.

He said that government should provide the enabling environment to encourage women to have access to quality education.

“Women are faced with hard tide of second best education, after their male counterparts.

“Women must be able to access more economic opportunities, more education and they must be able to have a lot to contribute to decisions that challenge and affect them.’’

On the life of Guobadia, he said the former INEC boss’ interest in women’s health was infectious.

“His championship had effect on my administration in paying greater attention more than any other administration on women’s health, in terms of legislation passed,’’ he said.

Gov. Adams Oshiomhole commended Obasanjo for his interest in the affairs of one of his appointees, even after death.

Oshiomhole described the former president as an “African voice that is respected across the globe”.

“Those who have respect for what people have done, will surely get respect when they die.’’

He said Obasanjo was known for his hard work, dedication and delivery on his commitment.

Oshiomhole, however, tasked the public to encourage women to participate in all human endeavour and encourage girl-child access to quality education.  

 

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