<SUNBIGHT>~Entertainment~Eke~11th April, 2022 @ 02:31 WAT~SportsBrief.
AFROBEAT music act Davido will feature in the first official 2022 FIFA World Cup single “Hayya Hayya” (Better Together) alongside Qatari sensation Aisha.
The 2022 World Cup will hold in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, however, the Super Eagles of Nigeria failed to qualify as Davido’s home country misses out.
Having played a 0-0 draw with Ghana in the first leg of their play-off, the Black Stars held the Super Eagles to a 1-1 draw in Nigeria to go through to the competition.
Davido and Aisha will feature in a single for the World Cup which was put together by FIFA entertainment director @redone.
The combination of breakthrough US star Trinidad Cardona, Afrobeats icon Davido and Qatari sensation Aisha captures the spirit of the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Sound strategy by bringing together inspiration from across the globe.
Meanwhile, the music rave of the moment Davido has reacted after the official Twitter account of German club Borussia Dortmund used the ‘E Choke’ slang.
Hours before their away game at FC Cologne, Dortmund tweeted photos of their players celebrating goals and then tagged the Nigerian music star in tweets. The club further added “Dortmund fall on you” to scare their opponents in an ‘OBO’ way as one of his music titles – ‘fall on you’ says.
Super Eagles legends Victor Ikpeba and Sunday Oliseh also had stints with the Bundesliga outfit as their photos in Dortmund colours were also shared.
Sports Brief earlier reported that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has teamed up with Nigerian singer Davido in the United Kingdom.
The Nigerian-born MMA fighter was in attendance to support Nigerian boxer Lawrence Okolie who clashed in the ring with Michal Cieslak in a WBO cruiserweight title fight.
Davido also showed up to back Okolie who defeated Michal Cieslak via unanimous decision to retain his WBO cruiserweight belt at the O2 Arena in London.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Nigeria~Nkwo~17th February,2022 @ 16:45 WAT
NIGERIAN Air Force get ready for the first batch of M-346FA attack jet, aquired to replace the Alpha jet in the light ground attack role.
With a price tag of $1.2 billion (for 24 aircraft) it is the single most expensive acquisition in the history of the Nigerian Air Force
The M-346FA will come between the Super Tucano and JF-17Thunder to become the workhorse of the NAF by complementing the Counter Insurgency warfare carried out by the A-29 Super Tucano and provide air to air/ air superiority support to the JF-17 Thunder for strategic air defence and deep strike missions.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Nigeria~Nkwo~16th February,2022 @ 15:57 WAT
Report by Madukwe Nnochironye [Abuja]
SUSPENDED deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, has accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) for his travails.
He made the claim when he appeared before the probe panel chaired by Joseph Egbunike, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
Kyari’s claim was contained in a report submitted by the panel to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, which was in turn forwarded to the Police Service Commission (PSC).
He was quoted to have said: “It is a campaign to smear his reputation by members of IPOB/ESN who vowed to destroy him, due to his onslaught against them in the South East.”
It was reported that the panel faulted Kyari’s claim, saying it is watery and recommended his demotion from the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Recall that in July 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicted Kyari of conspiring with Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, in a $1.1 million scam.
Meanwhile, while the Nigerian Minister of Justice is stalling on the extradition of the embattled senior police officer.
On Monday February 14, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) exposed Kyari and declares him wanted “over his involvement in a 25kg cocaine deal”, which prompted the Police Headquarters to effect his arrest and then transferred him to the custody of the NDLEA.
In a meeting held on Thursday,February 10, the Police Service Commission decided to set up another panel to investigate the allegation made against DCP Kyari in regard to the $1 million scam masterminded by Hushpuppi.
The new panel of investigation has being directed to finalise and present its reports in two weeks.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Crime~Eke~14th February,2022 @ 21:41 WAT
THE Nigeria Police Force has transferred Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari; and four others to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency barely four hours after they were declared wanted by the NDLEA.
The Spokesman for the drug enforcement agency, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said this in a statement on Monday titled, ‘Wanted DCP Abba Kyari, four others now in our custody – NDLEA’.
Others who were brought to the custody of the NDLEA include ACP Sunday Ubua; ASP Bawa James; Inspector Simon Agirgba and Inspector John Nuhu.
The statement read in part, “A few hours after he was declared wanted by the NDLEA over his involvement in a 25kg cocaine deal, the Nigerian Police Force has handed over the suspended DCP Abba Kyari, the erstwhile Commander of Intelligence Response Team at the Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigerian Police Force, to the anti-narcotic agency.
“Five of the wanted suspects namely: DCP Abba Kyari; ACP Sunday J. Ubua; ASP Bawa James; Inspector Simon Agirgba and Inspector John Nuhu were driven into the National Headquarters of NDLEA in Abuja at about 5pm on Monday to formally hand them over for interrogation and further investigation.
“The agency wishes to assure (members of the public) that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that all suspects already in custody and those that may still be indicted in the course of investigation will face the full weight of the law at the end of the ongoing probe.”■
<SUNBIGHT>~Crime~Eke~14th February,2022 @ 21:21 WAT
THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has chronicled how it nabbed suspended Head of the Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari in a drug deal.
NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, narrated that Kyari belonged to a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.
Babafemi said Kyari contacted an officer of the Agency in January 2022 and tried to seal a deal.
He said, “Let me give a synopsis of what transpired. The saga started on Friday, January 21, 2022, when DCP Kyari initiated a call to one of the NDLEA officers in Abuja at 2:12 pm. When the officer returned the call two minutes later, Kyari informed him he was coming to see him, to discuss an operational matter after the Juma’at service.
“He (Kyari) appeared at the agreed venue of the meeting with the officer and went straight to the crux of the matter. This was it: His team had intercepted and arrested some traffickers that came into the country from Ethiopia with, according to him, 25kg of cocaine.
“He proposed a drug deal whereby he and his team are to take 15kg of the cocaine and leave 10kg for the prosecution of the suspects arrested with the illicit drug in Enugu. In the meantime, the purloined cocaine will be replaced with a dummy worth 15kg. He asked the NDLEA officer to persuade men of the FCT Command, to play along as well.
“By 11: 05 am on Monday, January 24, after the Agency gave the officer the green light to play along, he and Kyari began a WhatsApp call for the rest of the day. The officer conveyed “their” willingness to play the game.
“At this point, Kyari disclosed that the 15kg (already taken out) was shared between the informants that provided information for the seizure and he and his men of the IRT of the Nigerian Police. According to him, the informants were given 7kg while his team took 8kg which was already sold.
“He (Kyari) then offered to pay the NDLEA team (that is the officer and the FCT commander) by selling, on their behalf, half of the remaining 10kg, thereby further reducing the original cocaine for the prosecution to just 5kg. At N7m per kilogram, the proceed from the 5kg would amount to N35m, at the exchange rate of N570 per dollar being the black market rate for the day, January 24, 2022. In effect, he would be delivering $61, 400 to the NDLEA team.
“He (Kyari) put pressure on our officer to wrap up the arrangement with the commander of the FCT Command to take custody of the drug and suspects from his men who were on ground in Abuja. At the time, he was speaking from Lagos, where he allegedly travelled for private business.
“The next day January 25, Kyari offered to send his younger brother to deliver the payment while his men deliver the suspects, but our officer turned down the suggestion, insisting he would rather deal with him in person and was therefore prepared to wait for him to return from Lagos.
“And by 5: 23 pm, Kyari was in Abuja and met with the officer at the same rendezvous where they had the first meeting. In their discussion, he disclosed how his team received the information from a double-crosser who betrayed the traffickers to him, showing a sordid connection between law enforcement agents and the drug underworld; he narrated how acting on the tip-off, his team departed Abuja to Enugu and arrested the traffickers, removed part of the consignment on his instruction and replaced same with dummies.
“He (Kyari) also indicated how to identify the remnant of the original cocaine that would be delivered to NDLEA, five original packages marked with red dots. The reason for this was to avoid the dummies being subjected to test. He forwarded a picture of the marked original cocaine package. According to the plan, once the 5kg cocaine has been tested in the presence of the suspects and confirmed positive, there would be no need to test the remaining ones, being dummies.
“He (Kyari) also brought with him the money from the sale of the 5kg share of the NDLEA team, a total of $61, 400. Our officer, however, preferred to take the money inside his car. Well, the car was wired with sound and video recorders. And the moment was documented, part of which I will play for you at the end of this briefing.
“DCP Abba Kyari was invited by NDLEA for debriefing on Thursday February 10 through two main channels because there is a whole lot of questions begging for answers. The invitation was legitimate and formal according to our protocol. But up till the close of office hours on Friday, February 11, he refused to respond. Up till this moment, he hasn’t responded.
“Having failed to honour the official invitation, NDLEA has no option but to declare DCP Abba Kyari of the Nigerian Police WANTED, right from this very moment.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Kyari was indicted in 2021 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly perpetrated by alleged international Internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi and five others.
FBI Special Agent, Andrew Innocenti, had said he obtained voice calls and WhatsApp conversations between Kyari and Hushpuppi, adding that Hushpuppi also paid the police officer N8m or $20,600 for the arrest and detention of a “co-conspirator,” Chibuzo Vincent.
The United States Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California had ordered the FBI to arrest Kyari but the IGP and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) evasively continued to shield Kyari till this moment.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Space~Eke~11th February,2022 @ 14:48 WAT
ASUU said Nigerians should hold the government responsible if another industrial action hits the Universities in no distant time.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos Zone, has called on Nigerians to engage the Nigerian government on issues it said are currently threatening the industrial peace in public Universities.
ASUU said the union dreads embarking on strike, and that deploys it as a last resort only when all other means must have failed.
Recall that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union had directed its various chapters to set aside a day to sensitise and mobilise Nigerians for its fight of saving the university system from collapsing.
ASUU said the Nigerian government has refused to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) that led to the suspension of its nine-month prolonged strike in 2020.
In his speech during a press conference at the University of Lagos, Akoka, on Tuesday, the coordinator of Lagos zone of ASUU, Adelaja Odukoya, PhD, Coordinator, said the government’s refusal to listen to the union and address issues it had agreed to address in the 2020 Memorandum of Action, is drawing the line of strike.
He said the government should be held responsible should ASUU decide to embark on another round of strikes, which he noted could happen in no distant time.
Mr Odukoya’s statement reads in part: “It becomes very important and germane to address this press conference to sensitise the public and express the concerns of our union about the refusal of the federal government to sign and implement the renegotiated 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), funding of state universities, non-payment of withheld salaries, checkoff dues and promotion arrears.”
Issues at stake
Some of the lingering issues between the government and the academic staff union as listed by Mr Odukoya is the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, which he noted ought to have been reviewed every three years.
However, nine months after the renegotiation concluded in May 2021, ASUU said the government has refused to sign and implement the renegotiated agreement.
Mr Odukoya said the MoA renegotiation was allegedly deliberately frustrated and delayed by the leadership of the erstwhile leadership of the renegotiated committee.
“However, with the removal of Dr Wale Babalakin and his replacement with Prof. Munzali Jubril, the renegotiation was concluded in May 2021. The union is, however, taken aback that since the conclusion of the renegotiation 9 months ago, the Federal Government is yet to sign and implement the renegotiated agreement,” Mr Odukoya said.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had in December said the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) gave positive feedback on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), but that with little things to be addressed.
Two months after the submission, the union decried that the government is yet to approve the use of UTAS for universities, saying it is still trying “to force the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) down its throat.”
ASUU also alleges that the IPPIS is found to be marred with irregularities.
He said; “It is against this backdrop that our union calls on the Federal Government to immediately approve the deployment of UTAS as a payment platform in our universities if we expect improvement in the operation and conditions of our ivory towers
“The deliberate refusal of the government to adopt UTAS as a payment platform in the university system further exposed the lip service that our government pays to the war against corruption. Government should therefore embrace ASUU’s innovation and deployment of a more robust system of human resource management and compensation which has been designed to address the peculiarities of our university system and end inappropriate recruitments in the system.”
Funding private universities
ASUU also demands the regulation of the proliferation of state-owned universities by governors who it alleges owe staff salaries and payment of university subventions, leaving the universities with failing infrastructures.
He said; “This proliferation has led to the decayed infrastructural facilities, withholding of salaries of academic staff, no research grants etc. The common practice of State Governments withholding the salary of our members for a period ranging from three to eight months is condemnable! In most cases, net salaries are paid and sometimes not paid at all.
“The continued denial and non-release of subventions to cater for the needs of these universities by reason of exigencies is unacceptable.
“Our union wants to call on the government to, without delay, review the laws of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and make it more stringent for the establishment of universities in the country.”■
THE British High Commission in Nigeria on Tuesday said its visa and immigration process for applicants seeking to visit the United Kingdom will take six weeks.
British High Commission in Nigeria on its official Twitter handle issued by the UK Visas and Immigration office.
The UKVI office said that they are working on reducing the current processing time as quickly as possible.
The increase in processing time is due to unpredictable demand across all visa centres, a fallout of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global travel restrictions.
What the UK Visas and Immigration office is saying
The statement from the UKVI reads, “Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and global travel restrictions, UKVI is experiencing unpredictable demand across all visa routes.
Standard visitor visa applications are taking on an average of six weeks to process. UK Visas and Immigration are working to reduce the current processing time as quick as possible. You should bear this in mind when making travel arrangements.”
The UKVI advised applicants against unnecessary visits to the Visa Application Centres (VACs) unless they were invited, stating that applicants whose passports were ready for collection would be contacted by officials at the centre for pick up.
It, however, stated there would be a consideration for extremely compassionate or compelling circumstances such as medical emergencies, although that would come at an extra cost.
It said, “You will be contacted by the Visa Application Centre (VAC) when your passport is ready for collection. Please do not attend the VAC until you have been invited to do so,” it said.
“Where there are extremely compassionate or compelling circumstances (for example, a medical emergency), we may consider expediting specific cases. However, the bar for this is high and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
“If your request is exceptionally urgent you can contact UK Visas and Immigration for help. Please note that this is a chargeable service for overseas customers. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
AN oil spill off Nigeria’s southern coast covers an area of 780 acres (315 hectares), a senior official has told the BBC.
This is the size of more than 500 football pitches.
It follows last Wednesday’s explosion of an oil production vessel – the Trinity Spirit – that had a storage capacity of two million barrels, though it was not believed to have been storing that much. Three people died in the blast.
Idris Musa, head of Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (Nosdra), told the BBC’s Newsday programme that chemical dispersants had been applied to reduce the damage to marine life in the area.
The location of the spill was not far from where the Trinity Spirit caught fire, he said.
When asked if the government body could deal with slick effectively, Mr Musa replied: “Certainly we can, certainly we can.”
However, cynics will note that many previous oil spills in Nigeria have not been cleared up.■
FOLLOWING the call by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Nigeria to remove official exchange rates, the value of Naira depreciated at the official and black markets on Tuesday.
Data from FMDQ securities showed the exchange rate of the Naira to the United States Dollar further depreciated at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) by 17 kobo or 0.04 per cent to settle at N416.67/$1 as against N416.50/$1 it ended on Monday.
The depreciation of Naira happened despite less pressure at the market as participants on Tuesday transacted $74.56 million compared with the $125.1 million achieved a day earlier.
This indicated that the turnover for the trading session went down by 40.4 per cent or $50.54 million.
It was a similar performance at the interbank market for Naira as it depreciated to N417.25 as against N417.05 it exchanged on Monday data from CBN website showed.
But there was respite against the Pound Sterling as it appreciated by 54 kobo to N565.42/£1 from the previous day’s N565.96/£1.
Naira also appreciated against the Euro by N1.66 to close at N476.75/€1 compared to N478.41/€1 it finished on Monday.
But the black market was a heavy fall as news of IMF calling for further devaluation spread.
Merchants at the black market from Tuesday afternoon to the evening increased the rate for those looking to buy dollars to N574 from N565/$ it exchanged a day earlier.
Meanwhile, IMF advice for the Naira exchange rate to be removed was contained in its Article IV consultation report on Nigeria, published on Monday.
According to the Fund’s statement on the report, IMF wants the official exchange rate to be removed to make way for a unified and market-clearing exchange rate to help strengthen Nigeria’s external position, taking advantage of the current favourable conditions.
IMF noted that exchange rate reforms should be accompanied by macroeconomic policies to contain inflation, structural reforms to improve transparency and governance, and clear communications regarding exchange rate policy.■