Journalists barred from covering Nigeria, Sierra Leone match – Newstrends
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Journalists barred from covering Nigeria, Sierra Leone match



The Confederation of African Football has stated that no journalists or supporters would be allowed inside the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City for Friday’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

In the guidelines communicated to the Nigeria Football Federation, CAF instructed, under Media Operations, that there would be no mixed zone, virtual press conference only if possible (media officers from both teams only), and that only the TV channels with the rights will be allowed flash interviews.

Also, only photographers of participating teams would be allowed at the match.

The above puts to rest all previous speculations regarding having spectators at the match venue, and whether members of the media would be allowed into the arena.

The NFF’s Director of Competitions, Bola Oyeyode, on Monday said only individuals accredited by the NFF would be allowed inside the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium for the Day 3 qualifier, which will kick off at 5pm Nigeria time.

Ministry of Youth and Sports Development had insisted that Nigeria’s game against Sierra Leone will be played without fans.

In a letter to the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, the ministry insisted that the game would be played without fans in adherence to the directives from the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.

“The ministry wishes to bring to your urgent attention that in compliance with the condition of no gathering agreed upon by the ministry and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 before the Federal Government opened up football and contacts sports, the match between Nigeria and Sierra Leone will not have any audience,” the letter stated.


EFCC deceived me into admitting N109.4bn fraud – Ex-accountant-general



EFCC deceived me into admitting N109.4bn fraud – Ex-accountant-general

An ex-Accountant-General of Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, has said he was decieved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to admit his involvement in an alleged N109.4 billion fraud.
Idris is standing trial on a 14-count charge alongside Geoffrey Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited, before a high court of the federal capital territory (FCT) in Maitama.

Idris was arrested on May 16, 2022, by the EFCC over alleged diversion of funds and money laundering.

Halilu Yusuf, the presiding judge, had ordered a trial-within-trial in the matter to enable the court to determine whether all the extra-judicial statements made by the former AGF to the EFCC should be admitted in evidence.

Chris Uche, counsel to Ahmed, alleged that the EFCC had assured the defendant that he would not be subjected to any trial if he gave details that would implicate a former minister of finance and some governors.

Idris urged the court to reject the said confessional statements which he said were obtained in violation of the provisions of sections 15(4) and 17(1) (2) of the ACJA 2015, as his lawyers were not present when he made them and the sessions were not recorded.

But the EFCC’s lead investigator, Hayatudeen Suleiman, denied the allegation.

Suleiman, who appeared as a witness on Thursday, said the statements by the first defendant were obtained voluntarily.

Under cross-examination by Rotimi Jacobs, prosecution counsel, the witness stated that “there was no such deception of promise made to the first defendant”.

“After he was cautioned, he was told that the matter would end up in court. The defendant came along with his legal representative in the person of Gbenga Adeyemi, who witnessed the statement from the beginning to the end and he also signed,” the witness told the court.

“We asked questions which he answered. The 1st defendant voluntarily made the statements and was also notified that it would be used in court for trial.

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Extrajudicial Killing: Court sentences 5 vigilante group members to death



Extrajudicial Killing: Court sentences 5 vigilante group members to death

For alleged extrajudicial killings of a minor, five vigilance members will be hanged to death in Kano.

The High Court in Kano presided by Justice Dije Abdu Aboki sentenced them to death by hanging for the death of a 17-year-old boy, Ahmed Musa.

The five were attached to Sani Abacha Youth Centre, it was learnt.

They were identified as: Emmanuel Korau, Elisha Ayuba, Irimiya Timothy, Auwalu Jafar and Mustapha Haladu. They all denied committing the offence.

The prosecution lead counsel, Barrister Lamido Abba Soron Dinki, said the convicts committed the offence on 22nd Jan. 2022 at Sabon Titi, Panshekara, Kumbotso local government area.


Dinki explained that on the same date at about 10am the Convicts conspired and attacked the deceased while he was crossing Sabon Titi, Panshekara Road.

The prosecution counsel told the court that the defendants came out from a tricycle and started beating the deceased with a long club.

The prosecutor said the offence contravened the provision of section 97 and 221(b) of the Penal Code

“In the process, the first defendant used a long sharp knife and stabbed the deceased on his neck and dragged him on the ground, put him in the tricycle and took him away.

“As a result the deceased sustained grievous injuries and swollen face.

“The victim was later taken to Kuntau Police Division Kano and was rushed to Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital Kano, where he died,” he said.

The judge agreed with the prosecutor, saying: “I hereby sentence the five defendants to death by hanging.”

Extrajudicial Killing: Court sentences 5 vigilante group members to death

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BettaGate: Can Tinubu bell the cat?



BettaGate: Can Tinubu bell the cat?


By Bola BOLAWOLE 0807 552 5533

Will sleaze and controversy ever depart from these shores? Two of such making the rounds at the moment are the BBC documentary on the late Prophet Temitope Balogun (TB) Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and the multi-billion Naira scandal involving two of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ministers – the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, and the (before now?) top-flight Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

What is BBC’s interest in TB Joshua, especially since he is dead and is nearly forgotten? What public interest will the BBC documentary serve? Is there any way anyone who has suffered as a result of the activities of TB Joshua will receive justice or have their situation and or circumstance ameliorated? Will justice be served to anyone who has suffered injustice as a result of the activities of the prophet and can his estate be held liable, if only for compensation purposes?

Assuming we have here a Truth and Reconciliation commission, like President Nelson Mandela instituted in South Africa in 1995 through the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995 after the collapse of apartheid and the enthronement of black majority rule, we can then say that the catharsis occasioned by the recalling of injustices suffered, confessions and pleas for forgiveness made, reconciliation followed by compensation, where possible – we can say all of this could help the healing process as it calms frayed nerves and bows the head of culprits.

The Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission of Nigeria, which imitated its South African counterpart, was inaugurated by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 1999. Otherwise known as the Oputa panel, so named after its chairman, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, its mandate was to investigate human rights abuses during the period of military rule from 1984 to 1999. It failed abysmally because the key violators of human rights during the period under review, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (with Gen. Sani Abacha already dead) not only boycotted it but poured scorn on it. With Obasanjo cleverly leaving out his own tenure of office as military Head of State (1976 – 1979), his hands were tied, so to say, as he could not compel his military subordinates to turn up before Oputa. With the big fishes out of the way, what was left was just a circus show and waste of scarce public resources.

Snippets of the BBC documentary on TB Joshua are already in the public domain. Some of the “revelations” were common knowledge to insiders in those days and, therefore, were no secret to me. I attended Synagogue for close to two years and had near unrestrained access to TB Joshua as I was the editor of the church magazine and a very close pal of his second-in-command then, Prophet Taiye Oladosu (Prophet T, as we called him). I also nearly married one of the choristers there, Sister Esther (where is she now?).

TB Joshua called me “Uncle” and I called him “Pastor”. Church, to me, is: What you seek is what you get! And this does not pertain only to Synagogue or TB Joshua; neither does it exonerate TB Joshua or Synagogue from answering to whatever charge that may be laid at their door-mouth. But those who died, those whose lives were ruined, and those whose destinies were truncated – how do we know them; and how do we get them justice? Will the BBC documentary move our government to action in any way? But if it helps to sound an alarm to the millions of worshippers still under the influence of the many TB Joshuas still in our midst and the many Synagogues still taking advantage of the gullible, then, it would have served a purpose. So much for TB Joshua!

Two ministers in the seven-month-old Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration are enmeshed in the billion-Naira “poor-people-money” scandal making the rounds. It is money meant for the poor, to alleviate their suffering, that people are alleged to be doing monkey business with. Some people can be heartless! Their conscience is seared, if at all they still have any. Now, the Minister responsible has been suspended from her post and an investigation ordered.

One thing I like about the Tinubu administration, and I will keep saying it, is that this President listens to public opinion. He acts on public outcry, very much unlike his predecessor who played deaf and dumb. We await the outcome of the EFCC investigation, which must be swift and thorough, and which must be made public. If this Minister is found culpable, she has to face the music.

Does it suggest anything that the two Tinubu ministers that have been involved in scandals so far are women? The first was the Minister for Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye. If we can laugh off her idiocy as she threatened to sue the United Nations over the (mis)management of donor funds to Nigeria, we cannot do likewise over her threats to, and blackmail of, university students calling out the Dean of their Faculty as sex predator. The minister has since apologized, though, and the lecturer in question is having his day in court. A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered him remanded in Kuje prisons.

The doors of the Presidential Villa may have been slammed against her but it is not likely that Betta Edu is intent on going away quietly. She may drag a lot of people along with her. Unfortunately, the high-performing Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has had his company named as having benefited from what looks like a repeat of the arms bazaar that consumed NSA Sambo Dasuki and many others in the PDP/President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

I listened to Tunji-Ojo as he tried to defend himself and I felt sorry for him. Yes, he started the company in question with his wife. Yes, he was a director of the company for years but he resigned his position some years back. Yes, that is as much as the law required him to do as a public officer. Yes, the company is a legal entity that is at liberty to pursue its legitimate interests. Yes, the company can pursue, win, and execute contracts and should be held accountable for its actions. All legalese! But involved here are moral issues!

In 1 Corinthians 10:23. The apostle Paul said: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” Tunji-Ojo may have fulfilled the provisions of the law by resigning as a director of the company but he still remains a shareholder and beneficiary of both the losses and gains of the company. Would he want the company to make a loss and liquidate while he is serving as minister or that it makes profit and prospers so he can return to a boisterous company? Is his wife still on the Board of the company or a shareholder? Can he vow that he never discusses the fortunes or misfortunes of the company? Could his influence or current position not have helped the company in this instance and or in some others? He may escape by the whiskers but what does the principle of strict liability say in this respect?


Now, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is a cesspit of corruption: Scrap it! It was so in the time of Buhari. The ex-Minister in charge of the ministry under Buhari has started answering questions at the EFCC. Throwing money at problems does not solve the problems. Buhari did; he failed. It is unfortunate that Tinubu has continued in Buhari’s steps in this regard. It may be that he is being railroaded by his party leaders. Except he backtracks, he, too, is destined to fail.


The so-called palliative measures of Buhari palliated nothing but only fueled humongous corruption. In like manner, the Tinubu government’s palliative measures palliate nothing but has started providing opportunities for corruption. Rather than give people fish to eat, teach them how to fish. The funds being wasted on phantom poverty alleviation programmes should be deployed to more useful ventures.


Many are asking: Can this President fight corruption? He can! It is a matter of choice! It is difficult for a ruling party to throw caution to the wind as many would have loved but I dare to say that Tinubu has taken a few cautious steps in the right direction. But we must understand that he is part of the system and not an angel from above. He is a beneficiary of the system. He appears intent on keeping the system going. He seems to believe that the system can still be rescued, panel-beaten and restored to good health. I think he is wrong.

So, he may stem corruption, but can he uproot it? A leader is as good – and as bad – as the people he surrounds himself with. Look at the people around President Tinubu and form your opinion. The apple never falls far from the tree! Usually, the twin enemies are selfish interest and class interest. Is Tinubu prepared to scale both hurdles?


* Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers, Chairman of its Editorial Board and Deputy Editor-in-chief, BOLAWOLE was also the Managing Director/ Editor-in-chief of THE WESTERNER newsmagazine. He writes the ON THE LORD’S DAY column in the Sunday Tribune and TREASURES column in New Telegraph newspaper on Wednesdays. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.

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