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Buhari leaves Paris for Intra-African Trade Fair in South Africa

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Buhari Departs New York
Buhari will be in South Africa for the 2021 edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to leave Paris for Durban, South Africa, at a special invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to join other African leaders at the Official Opening Ceremony of the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021 which takes place on Monday.

The event, holding from November 15 to November 21, is being convened by the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.

The theme of the Fair, Building Bridges for a Successful AfCFTA aims at boosting trade and investment across the African continent. It also promises to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive across the African continent; bring to fruition the lofty ideas behind the creation of the AfCFTA by providing the platform to further identify and proffer solutions to challenges militating against intra-African trade and; generate market information needed to connect buyers and sellers throughout the continent.

Global businesses including non-African international brands are expected to key into opportunities generated by the fair, thereby attracting for the continent trade and investment deals worth $40billion. Various Nigerian investors are already in Durban to take advantage of the event.

Deal of the day

The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Segun Awolowo.

President Buhari is expected back in Nigeria on Tuesday, November 16.

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Nigeria had weeks to use expired vaccines – Minister

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Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire

Health minister, Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday said some COVID-19 vaccines donated by western countries had a shelf life that left only weeks to administer the shots.

He said the health ministry had declined a request by some vaccine manufacturers to extend the shelf life of the doses by three months.

Two sources have told Reuters that up to one million COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have expired in Nigeria last month without being used, one of the biggest single losses of doses that shows the difficulty African nations have getting shots in arms.

In response, Ehanire said in a statement expired vaccines had been withdrawn and would be destroyed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration. He did not give a figure.

He said if vaccines with a short shelf life arrive back-to-back or in large numbers, logistical bottlenecks occasionally arise.

“Some manufacturers offered to extend the vaccine shelf life after the fact, by 3 months, a practice that, though accepted by experts, is declined by the Federal Ministry of Health, because it is not accommodated in our standards,” he said.

The World Health Organization said in a joint statement on Nov. 29 with Africa’s disease control body (Africa CDC), the GAVI vaccine alliance and other health groups that COVID-19 vaccines donated to African countries should have a minimum of 10 weeks shelf life when they arrive in-country.

Ehanire did not say exactly how long the vaccines had when they arrived but that Nigeria had been left with “a very short time, some just weeks, to use them, after deduction of time to transport, clear, distribute and deliver to users.”

He said the issue of donations of doses with expiring shelf lives to developing countries was a matter that was under international discussion.

“Developing countries like Nigeria accept them because they close our critical vaccine supply gaps and, being free, save us scarce foreign exchange procurement cost,” he said.

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EFCC arraigns man who concealed 2,863 ATM cards in noodles

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Ishaq Abubakar
Ishaq Abubakar on his way to Dubai with 2, 863 ATM cards and four SIM cards

The Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, arraigned one Ishaq Abubakar before Justice P.O. Lifu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on an 11-count charge bordering on cybercrimes.

The suspect was arrested by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, on August 22, 2020 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on his way to Dubai with 2, 863 Automated Teller Machine, (ATM)cards and four Subscriber Identification Module( SIM)cards carefully concealed in parks of Noodles.

He was subsequently handed over to the EFCC on Thursday, September 10, 2020 by the Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement, NCS, Abudulmumuni Bako, for further investigation and prosecution.

While handing over the suspect to the EFCC, Bako, who represented the Customs Area Comptroller, A.Ma’aji, had said: “Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service at the Departure Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, on August 22, 2020, intercepted the suspect with 2, 863 ATM cards, which he carefully concealed in parks of Noodles.

“The suspect, who claimed to have come from Kano to Dubai aboard the Emirate Evacuation flight, was seen with someone who was assigned to facilitate his movement through the airport checks.

“This raised the suspicion of the officers who insisted he should be physically and thoroughly checked after the scan machine had revealed he was carrying packs of noodles.”

In his response, the Executive Chairman, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who received the suspect on behalf of the Commission in his capacity as the then Zonal Commander, had assured the Service that the Commission would duly investigate the suspect and any other party that might be involved in the alleged criminal offence.

“There are a number of possibilities. There is an element of conspiracy, foreign exchange (FOREX) malpractices and money laundering,” he had said.

Bawa, who also emphasized the possibility of the suspect being a member of a network, had added that “we have observed a trend in which unsuspecting Nigerians are lured into opening accounts to be bought at a fee.

“Investigation revealed that 10 of the 2,863 ATM cards were stolen, as the owners had confirmed losing their cards, which were found in his possession.

It was further revealed that the remaining ATM cards were handed over to him by some persons in Kano for onward delivery to their contacts in Dubai for monetary benefits.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Abubakar Ishaq, on or about 22nd August, 2020 at Lagos, within the judicial division of this Honorable Court, received and retained in your possession 10 ATM cards issued in the card holders, which cards you knew were taken or retained under circumstances which constitute card theft and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 34 of cybercrimes( Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015”.

Another count reads: “That you, Abubakar Ishaq, on or about 22nd August , 2020 at Lagos, within the judicial division of this Honorable Court, received an Access bank ATM card issue to one Alamin Bashir Babuga, which you know or ought to know to have been lost and which you retained possession with intent to traffic it to a person other than the card owner and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 33(4) of Cybercrimes( Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act , 2015.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, S. Sulaiman, asked that the defendants be remanded in the Correctional Service.

The defense counsel, George Ochima, told the court of a pending application for bail for the defendant.

In his ruling, Justice Lifu granted the defendant bail in the sum of N50m, with two sureties in like sum, who must swear to affidavit of means.

One of the sureties is to provide land ownership proof in Lagos, while the other must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 14.

The defendant was also ordered to surrender his travel documents to the court.

The judge ordered the defendant to be remanded in the Correctional Centre, Ikoyi pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions.

The case has been adjourned to February 18, 2022 for commencement of trial.

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Ojodu Crisis: Sanwo-Olu Shutdown School For Investigation, Condoles With Parents

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The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has ordered the closure of the Ojodu Grammar School, over the tragic incident on Tuesday.

The governor via his social media pages noted the school will remain shut down till January 2022 for further investigation.

He in the same vein condoled with the parents, management, staff, and students of the school.

Speaking on the incident, Sanwo-Olu said: “I commiserate with the parents, management, staff, and students of Ojodu Grammar school over this tragic and unfortunate death of our students, whose lives were cut short by a truck driver yesterday.

“The sad incident has left me devastated since yesterday. It is terrible to hear about the death of innocent children, especially in an avoidable circumstance such as what happened yesterday.

“As a parent, words cannot express how shattered I am about the incident. No one’s life, including those vibrant students, who were returning from where they had gone to learn for a better future, deserves to be terminated in that manner.

“My deepest sympathies go out to their parents and families. I pray that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

“Our prayers are also with the survivors, who are receiving treatment at the hospital. We are monitoring the situation and will provide the necessary support to ensure their quick recovery.

“We have immediately ordered that the affected school be shut down till January, while investigations are ongoing. The erring driver has also been apprehended and arrested.

“May God comfort the families of our departed children and grant them eternal rest.”

 

 

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