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Michael Abikoye, Nigerian high commissioner to Ghana, has protested the "inhuman treatment" of Nigerians by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).

At a meeting between him and Kwame Takyi, the comptroller-general of GIS, the high commissioner said 723 Nigerians were deported over alleged illegal stay, cybercrime and prostitution between the January 2018 and January 2019.

According to him, 81 Nigerians were deported over alleged cybercrime and illegal stay in January, while 115 have so far been deported in February on the allegation of overstay and prostitution.

The high commissioner cautioned against inhuman treatment of Nigerians by Ghana, warning that any form of torture or ill treatment of Nigerians would not be acceptable to Nigerian government.

He said, though the high commission would not condone any form of criminality on the part of Nigerians, inhuman treatment and alleged torture of some Nigerians in Ghana would no longer be tolerated.

"Although, the GIS had linked prostitution and cybercrimes as some of the reasons for the deportation, it is improper to deport Nigerians for alleged illegal stay in Ghana," he said.

"There are several Ghanaians living in Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service has never deported any of them on ground of illegal stay, because of a sense of brotherliness between our countries."

He also showed photos of some of them who sustained injuries on their legs, arms and eyes in the process of being tortured.

According to him, the inhuman act was against the United Nations Convention against Torture.

He appealed to the CG to prevail on his officials to treat Nigerians and other ECOWAS nationals with human face, caution and not as common criminals.

In his response, the CG acknowledged the existing bilateral relationship between the two countries as earlier pointed by Abikoye.

According to Takyi, the GIS are being compelled to carry out repatriation because of the conduct of some Nigerian nationals in Ghana.

He alleged that besides engaging in cybercrime and prostitution, "some Nigerians had become laws in themselves; they do road blockages in major Ghanaian streets where they drink, fight and stab one another.

"This unruly behaviour which contravenes the local laws in Ghana has led to directive from higher authority for their arrests and eventual deportation of those who do not have the requisite immigration papers," he said.The CG, however, promised to investigate alleged torture of some Nigerians.

He, however, showed the ambassador a video of some Nigerians, obstructing justice by preventing the official vehicle of the GIS the right of way after arresting a Nigerian in Kasoa area.

The Coalition of United Political Parties on Wednesday alleged that the Department of State Services is tapping telephone conversations of opposition party members in the country.

He said the conversations which were mainly opposition's strategies for the forthcoming elections were being made available to leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

The coalition's national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, made the allegations in a statement made available to journalists.

He said, "We wish to express our shock and disappointment with the All Progressives Congress and unscrupulous security agencies who, we discovered are taping our leaders' calls and leaking our electoral strategy.

"The opposition has uncovered constant taping of our calls and location marking by the ruling APC, using the DSS.

"We are utterly disgusted with this shameless act. This administration has proven that nothing is sacred to them anymore."

Ugochinyere, therefore, called on opposition members to abandon telephone conversations and adopt physical meetings or make use of the Whatsapp platform.

He added, "We also urge our members to use Wi-Fi network to power their WhatsApp conversations than the use of telecommunications means which they easily have access to.

"As for the immoral security agencies who allow themselves to be used by this ruthless government, stop taping our calls and leaking our electoral strategy, channel your energy to your duty which is serving our country rather than belittling yourselves."

The Nigerian economy is growing slower than the growth rate in its population, the FSDH research has revealed.

According to the research by the FSDH Merchant Bank on 'Final judgment on performance of the Nigerian economy: Implications', it said this was an indication of growing poverty.

"This means that the economy is not expanding in such a way that can create enough job opportunities for the unemployed population, which the National Bureau of Statistics put at 21million as at Q3 2018," it stated.

The FSDH research noted that ahead of the presidential election, the NBS released its final judgment on the performance of the Nigerian economy in 2018.

It said the report containing the judgment showed that the Nigerian economy had continued to recover. The economy expanded by 1.93 per cent in full year 2018, higher than 0.82 per cent recorded in 2017.

The report read, "The Nigerian economy is growing slower than the growth rate in its population, an indication of growing poverty! This means that the economy is not expanding in such a way that can create enough job opportunities for the unemployed population, which the NBS put at 21million as at Q3 2018."

Although that was the sad reality, it added that there was a way out.

Nigeria could grow at above six per cent if appropriate policies and the will power to implement the policies were in place, it added.

"If you are searching sectors of the economy to start a business or to lend money to, you should be looking at the fastest growing or largest sectors of the economy," the FSDH stated.

These were also the sectors where policymakers could easily achieve tangible results to show the impacts of their policies on the economy.

Such sectors usually commanded government's attention and protection, it added.

It said, "The most influential sectors that drove performance in FY 2018 are: Information and communication; agriculture; manufacturing, transportation and storage, and mining and quarrying sectors.

"The five fastest growing sectors on average between Q1 2017 – Q4 2018 are electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply; transportation and storage; water supply, sewage, waste management and remediation; information and communication and mining and quarrying."

According to the report, the fragile recovery in the economy meant that additional policies which would fast-track economic activities in the country were urgently required.

This meant it would be a hard sell for the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase key interest rates in the country, it stated.

Increase in the key interest rates like Monetary Policy Rate, Cash Reserve Requirement and Liquidity Rate may not be in view in the short-term.

Usually, an increase in the MPR, CRR and LR may help to reduce a high inflation rate and keep the foreign exchange rate stable.

However, such actions have the tendency to reduce economic growth, effectively it added.

The growing recovery in the economy, if sustained, would reduce the business risks inherent in the country, which usually scared away investors.

It stated, "No-one wants to set up a business in an economy that is in recession. After a free and fair election in Nigeria and tangible efforts to improve the infrastructure in the economy, we expect Nigeria to attract more domestic and foreign investment in the non-oil sector."

Former Governor of Jigawa state and Peoples Democratic Party's chieftain in the state, Alhaji Sule Lamido said that had it been PDP won the 2015 general elections, he would have been jailed.

Lamido stated this in a popular political program aired on Radio Freedom in Dutse title "ina gwanin wani." He said that the former president, Goodluck Ebele Johnathan hds attempted to jail him after his victory.

He explained that this followed his endorsement by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to run for the presidency in 201s5 poll when he visited the state during the economic summit conveyed by his then administration.

He said EFCC had visited Jigawa state severally and investigated his administration but failed to prove any of the allegations raised against him.
Lamido said he was then labeled with series of accusations by Johnathan's administration and anti-graft body which up till now have failed to find him guilty.

"People are waiting to see my name in corruption cases including, Dasukigate ,and 2015 campaign funds saga, "He noted.

He said the case was created deliberately by President Goodluck Johnathan, the former Director General of the State Security service, Ita Ekpengyong, Ibrahim Lamorde, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and his Chief of Staff, Minister of Defence and Minister of Justice and other top government officials with the aim of smearing his reputation and his political career.

President Muhammadu Buhari, today swore in eight new Federal Permanent Secretaries at the council chamber of the presidential villa, Abuja.

The president inaugurated the permanent secretaries shortly before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

The newly inaugurated permanent secretaries are:  Dr. Bakari Wadinga (Adamawa), Dr. Mohammed Dikwa (Borno), Dr. (Mrs) Ajani Magdalene N. Olor (Delta), Umakhihe Ernest Afolabi (Edo), Mbaeri Maurice Nnamdi (Imo), Babatunde Lawal (Lagos), Mr. Festus Yusuf Narai Daudu (Nasarawa) and Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan, (Osun).

Until their appointments as permanent secretaries, they were directors in the civil service.

Buhari urged them not to be partisan, charging them to key into his administration's three key agenda.

It was gathered that the FEC meeting continued after the swearing-in ceremony.

Some Nigerian celebrities including Olubankole 'Banky W' Wellington, Emeka Ike, Desmond Elliot, Freedom 'Mr Jollof' Atsekpoyi and Shina Peller are vying for several elective positions as the 2019 polls close in.

The celebrities, contesting under various political parties, are seeking mostly to represent their constituencies in legislative positions.

Singer and actor, Banky W, who is vying to represent Eti-Osa at the Federal House of Representatives, has the most publicised celebrity campaign on social media.

He unveiled his plans to contest under the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) on Nov. 10, 2018, with a social media announcing explaining the need for young people to get involved in the electoral process.

Sharing on his Instagram page @bankywellington, he said, "They said we don't have the money to run, we say our strength lies in our numbers. They say we don't have the structure, we say we will attempt to build it."

Following the announcement, other celebrities, including his wife actress, Adesua Etomi-Wellington have pledged their support massively, urging other young people to do same. Campaign concerts are held in the place of rallies.

Nollywood actor and filmmaker, Elliot announced on Dec. 10, 2018, that he was seeking re-election in Surulere Constituency 1 of Lagos State House of Assembly, which he currently represents, under the All Progressives Congress (APC).

It was gathered that on Oct. 24, 2018, actor Emeka Ike made public his intentions to represent Okigwe South Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives under the Young Progressive Party (YPP).

He shared the campaign poster on his Instagram page @emekaikeofficial with the caption, "If the young has a voice, it's now. Let's urbanise Okigwe South Federal Constituency. Let's engage her youths now."

Also, popular celebrity social commentator and musician, Mr Jollof announced his election bid on Sept. 24, 2018, with posters of his campaign and the logo of his party, African Action Congress (AAC).

Sharing the materials, showing his interest to represent Warri Federal Constituency, on his Instagram page @mr.jollof_, he wrote, "I don pay for nomination form o. As day break, make everywhere burst. Let's take it back."

Meanwhile, entertainment businessman, Shina Peller, on July 6, 2018, announced his intentions to represent Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa constituency at the Federal House of Representatives under the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He wrote on his Instagram page @shinapeller, "Hey people, I would like to formally invite everyone to the declaration of my political ambition."

Each of these celebrities have been making use of his social media platforms and large followership to push their political ambitions, with some keeping online diaries of campaign activities.

The Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, has revealed that God told him that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, will become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Melaye said it was a revelation from God that Atiku will emerge winner of this Saturday's presidential election ahead of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said this while speaking at the 84th emergency meeting of the PDP National Executive Council (NEC) on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to Melaye: "The Nigerian military must know that every soldier, police, para-military took an oath of allegiance and that oath of allegiance is not for President Mammadu Buhari, it is in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"And any soldier, police or para-military personal used by the APC to unleash terror on Nigerians during elections, we will record you.

"And some of you know you have network problem with God. As for me, I have no network problem with God. Whenever I called upon him, he answered me.

"And he told me that Atiku will be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"So if you allow yourselves to be used, I want to plead Mr President Sir, I want to be a member of the special panel that will try military officers who betray the constitution of Nigeria."

Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, has confirmed that the general election will be a do or die affair.

Responding to to el-Rufai's "body bag" threat, Falana said the prosecution of the governor will commence as soon as his tenure is over.

He asked the international community that has promised to impose visa ban on those inciting violence to make an example of the governor.

Falana was speaking at secretariat of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) during a memorial event in honour of Beko Ransome-Kuti, the human rights activist who died 13 years ago.

The programme held on Tuesday.

"Last week, Mr. Nasiru El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State threatened that foreign election observers and monitors who interfere in the 2019 general elections would return to their countries in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run out country," Falana said.

"The threat to attack and kill foreign election observers in Nigeria constitutes an infraction of the Electoral Act, 2010 and the Penal Code but because Governor El Rufai currently enjoys immunity his trial and prosecution for the offence will have to await the end of his tenure.

"The western countries that have threatened to place travel restrictions on members of the ruling class who incite violence or interfere in the electoral process should not hesitate to make an example of the governor without any further delay.

"The Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who has also warned against any form of electoral violence in the country is urged to hold Governor El Rufai responsible if foreign observers and monitors are killed during the 2019 general election.

"Notwithstanding the recklessness of the threat to attack foreign election observers, Governor El Rufai's has confirmed that the 2019 general election is going to be a do or die affair (apologies to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo) for the leading factions of the ruling class.

"Since leading politicians have recruited and armed thugs the general elections will be characterised by violence in many parts of the country. Even if some of the thugs are arrested and are arraigned in the courts, the various attorneys-general would file nolle prosequi to terminate the criminal cases as the managers of the neocolonial state cannot afford to prosecute their armed agents.

"Therefore, since the children of the sponsors of violence are in expensive schools at home and abroad we urge the masses of our people not to allow their own children to be used as cannon fodders during the battle for the control of political power and economic resources of the country by the ruling class."

The lawyer also accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of considering manipulating results.

He wondered why ex-President Goodluck Jonathan failed to implement the recommendation of the Uwai panel set up by the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to tackle electoral malpractice.

Falana said like Jonathan, President Muhammadu Buhari also jettisoned the Ken Nnamani panel set up by the APC government.

"It is indubitably clear that both APC and PDP are resolutely committed to the status quo which permits the manipulation of election results," he said.

"Hence, both parties have rejected the reform of the electoral system. But it is high time democratic forces mounted sufficient pressure on the political class to implement the recommendations of the electoral reform panels."

The presidential candidate of the National Interest Party (NIP) Eunice Atuejide has quit the race in favour of her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar.

She is the second female candidate to quit the race after Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) threw in the towel following irreconcilable differences with the party's leaders.

Atuejide, in a statement on her twitter handle, explained she was backing Atiku because of his choice of former Anambra governor, Peter Obi as his running mate.

She said: "I choose to fight for the benefit of every Nigerian on the side of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. I cannot defend PDP for giving us bad leadership from 1999 to 2015 yet I cannot help but blame the APC for doing a much worse job from 2015 to 2019.

"Plus, whether we call them PDP, APC, PPA, ANN, YPP, or NIP, we are all the same people moving from one political platform to the other in search of a place to speak out and be heard.

"To my mind, the political party platform is not the real issue nonetheless it's either Alhaji Atiku Abubakar under the PDP or President Buhari under the APC this time.

"I make bold to state unequivocally that I stand with Atiku under the PDP this time.

"Mr Abubakar picked an amazing VP. In fact, even though I have never met or spoken to Peter Obi, it is thanks to him that I am today the Founder and National Chairman of a youth-led, digitally organised political party (NIP).

"His exemplary leadership as Governor of Anambra State led me and several of my team members to politics."

Ifeanyi Ozoemena, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Logara/Umuohiagu ward in Ngor Okpala council area of Imo state, has been killed.

Ozoemena was reportedly murdered shortly after presiding over a meeting of the party in the ward on Tuesday night.

He was said to have been shot in front of his family members.

Martin Opara, a community leader, who confirmed the killing, said the community had been thrown into mourning.

According to him, the community had never witnessed such "political killing".

He urged the security agencies to fish out the killers of the APC chieftain without any delay.

Opara said the Eze-in-council in conjunction with the community's town union had met and sent a delegation to the divisional police officer requesting that the perpetrators of the act be arrested and brought to justice.

"This killing is strange to our community. Report says that he was shot severally in his house until he died," Opara said.

"We have met with the Eze-in-council and have sent a delegation to the DPO requesting that the killers should be arrested immediately.

"Logara community is known for peace and we won't jeopardise peace among us.

"The deceased finished hosting a meeting of APC members in his ward after which gunmen operating in a jeep came and requested to see him. On sighting him, they shot him severally before they left."

Ozoemena's killing comes four days after a chieftain of the APC was murdered in Benue state.

Nollywood top actress, Liz Anjorin, has slammed those reportedly 'forcing' her to help ailing actor and producer, Babatunde Omidina, better known as Baba Suwe.

According to her, "Ogun will kill" them if they want to make it compulsory for her to help anyone in the movie industry.

Many Nollywood celebrities have been mobilising funds for Baba Suwe's medical treatment for an undisclosed illness in the United States of America.

Consequently, a fan called Liz's attention to it as well on Instagram.

She reacted in a manner that portrays anger, saying no celebrity came to her aide when her mother was down with stroke for years before she finally passed on.

The actress wrote: "You came to my page to be insulting and cursing me because of INDUSTRY issue?

"My mother deserve my kindness but the hate in the INDUSTRY and others sent her to early grave. They did not allow her to eat the fruit of her labour.

"My mother battled stroke for good four years; I was in the court with a thief that stole my car all alone at this same time. What did my colleagues do to help me?

"They helped to spread bad rumours. If you come to my page to drop any hate speech, I pray this same thing happen to you and you will never come out of it.

"How many of them (colleagues) featured me in their movie or adopted me? Despite my generosity.

"When my beloved mother died none of the artiste came except Lepa Shandy and Madam Asewo Toremecca. The headline written by a journalist "COLLEAGUES SHUN LIZ ANJORIN MOTHER'S BURIAL" still linger in my brain.

"Remember I can laugh with you but I will never betray my mother to mingle with some of you.
How many of my event do they attend to support me as a family? Not just family. Ask them all how humble and generous is Liz Anjorin?

"Do you all remember 2017? 'Owo Nairabet" premiere is a good example when Saidi Balogun and others ganged against me.

"If you come to my page to tell me who to assist Ogun will kill you and you die just like my mother."

She later acknowledged that she has sent money to the ailing actor

No fewer than 938 suspected political thugs, drug sellers and addicts have been arrested by the police in Kano state within one week.

The PPRO Kano police command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna who confirmed the arrest, said 851 of the suspects had been charged to court for prosecution while 87 others are still under investigation.

Haruna said the suspects were arrested at various locations across the state during a special raid of criminal hideouts by the police.

He said the raid was aimed at ridding the state of criminal elements to pave way for the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming general elections.

He said the suspects were arrested within the last one week following the assumption of office of the current commissioner of police, Mohammed Wakili.

The police spokesman revealed that about 130 parcels and over 11, 000 wraps of a substance suspected to be Indian hemp have been recovered from the suspects besides other intoxicants including refanol, diazepam, and rubber solution among others.

He disclosed that the commissioner's resolve for the onslaught on drug sales and abuse in the state was predicated on the understanding that most criminals take drugs before they commit any crime.

"Since the arrival of the current Commissioner of Police, he has been very tough about the issue of political thuggery and those abusing drug that is why you see the police always looking for them. He keeps saying that most of these offences are related to drugs.

"When we conducted an investigation here in the command we found out that most of the suspects before they commit any offence they must take drugs that is why he is always serious about the issue of drugs, and the assumption of the command is that if we can rid the state of this drug abuse, we can then eliminate other crimes" Haruna said.

Meanwhile, the commissioner vowed to launch an onslaught on drug barons with a view to tackling the menace of drug abuse in the state.

Kano has been identified as one of the hot spots for drug abuse in the country with a reported daily consumption rate of 2million bottles of codeine.

The CP disclosed this while addressing members of the Kano state election peace committee who paid him a courtesy visit in his office yesterday, CP Mohammed said drug users are victims of the drug culture.

He said he has directed all divisional heads under his command to monitor and arrest drug barons within their jurisdiction.

"The problem is not drug users but the drug barons, the users are just victims. In view of that I have directed my DPOs to arrest drug barons within their areas of jurisdiction" the CP said.

The committee was in the command to seek the support of the police Chieftain towards ensuring peaceful conduct of the forthcoming general elections.

The committee was led by its co-chairs Professor Emeritus Ibrahim Umar and the Catholic Bishop of Kano Diocese, Rev. Dr John Namaza Niyiring.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, Bishop Niyiring while commending the CP over the sanity being entrenched following the arrest of almost 1000 thugs, urged the CP to maintain a neutral status during the elections.

CP Mohammed expressed appreciation for the visit and promised to work with the committee to see to an enduring peace before, during and after the elections.


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