Month: October 2017


The ECOWAS Court of Justice has awarded a total of N88billion damages against the Federal Government for its failure to clear landmines and remains of explosives in the aftermath of the civil war in the South Eastern part of the country.

The Court granted an out of court settlement application for a case involving the federal government and nine victims of the Nigerian civil war.

At its sitting on Monday, the court ordered the parties to abide by the terms of the settlement, part of which stipulates that the federal government pay without delay, N50 billion as compensation to the victims, their families and communities.

In a consent judgment delivered by Justice Chijioke Nwoke on Tuesday, the court ordered the Federal Government to commence clearing and evacuation of the aftermath of the civil war within 45 days.

In 2012, hundreds of mine victims of the war had gone to the ECOWAS court, asking for an order for the removal of remnants of war instruments stockpiled in 11 states of the south-east, south-south and part of the north-central.

The victims also asked the court to compel the federal government to rehabilitate the areas and compensate them for the damages.

But last week, counsel to both parties filed an application for out-of-court settlement, on the ground that they have reached agreeable terms. In the agreement, the federal government has also agreed to pay another 38 billion naira for the de-mining and rebuilding of the affected areas.





France has sentenced the playboy son of Africa’s longest serving president to three years in jail: Teodorin Obiang, the playboy son of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea’s leader, and the country’s current vice president, has been found guilty of corruption and sentenced to three years in jail in France.

The sentence comes after a long investigation by French authorities into allegations that Obiang embezzled $175 million from his country to buy luxurycars, realestate, and other assets in France. Those assets will now be seized. The sentence, as well as a 30 million euro fine ($34.78 million), were both suspended.

Teodorin, who is also the eldest son of the country’s president, was given a three-year suspended jail sentence by the French court and a suspended €30m fine for money-laundering, embezzlement, corruption and abuse of trust.

It also seized Obiang’s assets in France valued at more than €150m.

The president’s son previously denied the charges. French authorities, who have for years been investigating possibly illicit purchases of French assets by African leaders, estimate that his collection of cars, real estate, and other items is worth more than €100 million (about $115 million).

Despite its huge oil wealth and that of its ruling elite, Equatorial Guinea is also home to some of the most deprived communities in Africa. More than half the population lives beneath the poverty threshold.

Equatorial President Obiang

President Obiang seized power of the country in 1979, overthrowing President Francisco Macias Nguema, a leader whose rule since independence saw the deaths of thousands. The former leader was tried and executed.

The accusations of cannibalism against the dictator stem from an interview with an exiled political opponent, Severo Moto, on Spanish radio in 2004.

In it, Moto said President Obiang was a demon who “systematically eats his political rivals”.

Making clear he wasn’t just speaking in metaphors, Moto said the ruler was “an authentic cannibal”.

“He has just devoured a police commissioner,” he is quoted as saying. “I say devoured as this commissioner was buried without his testicles and brain.”



President Muhammadu Buhari has studied the report of the panel headed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, which investigated allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir David Lawal, and the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.

The President accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate the appointment of Mr Lawal, and has appointed Mr Boss Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The appointment takes immediate effect.

President Buhari also approved the recommendation to terminate the appointment of Ambassador Oke, and has further approved the setting up of a three-member panel to, among other things, look into the operational, technical and administrative structure of the Agency and make appropriate recommendations.



One of Trump’s advisers has been permanently suspended on Twitter for harassing journalists.
Roger Stone was kicked off Twitter Saturday after a profanity-laced tirade targeting journalists. His rant occurred hours after news organizations began reporting on an impending indictment coming from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference.

Stone has been seen as one of the major players from the Trump campaign who possibly helped collude with Russia in the 2016 election.

On Saturday Stone used abusive and homophobic language on Twitter to harass CNN reporters, including Don Lemon.

Stone incurred a permanent ban as a result of these tweets, BuzzFeed News reported. It was not the first time Twitter had suspended Stone from its platform.
The political consultant told Politico that he planned on taking legal action against Twitter.
“This is a strange way to do business and part and parcel of the systematic effort by the tech left to censor and silence conservative voices,” Stone said in an email to Politico.
Stone insisted that prominent “telecommunications attorneys” said he had a case against the tech company, so he vowed to follow suit. Stone said he has been on the receiving end of abuse and harassment on Twitter.
“I have been inundated on Twitter with death threats, threats to kill my wife, my family, my children and even my dogs yet Twitter seems unconcerned with these bloggers,” he told Politico.

Stone’s attacks on CNN reporters came hours after news organizations began reporting that an indictment was coming down the pipeline from Mueller’s investigation, the first charges laid by a grand jury in the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election. The target of that indictment has not been revealed.
Stone has been interviewed by the Senate intelligence committee back in March and was asked to retain documents related to the Russian email hacks.
Twitter has a policy that forbids users from conduct that “crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.”
“Any accounts and related accounts engaging in the activities specified below may be temporarily locked and/or permanent suspension,” the policy adds.


Global finance and investments powerhouse, Goldman Sachs has invested £100 million in a fintech startup founded by two of its former bankers that lets people borrow money and repay through their salaries.

Inspired by a West African savings club, Neyber, founded in 2014 and launched in 2015, partners with employers to let their staff borrow money at attractive rates.

Repayments are then deducted from future salaries, lowering the risk for the lender and hopefully helping staff manage money better.

Goldman’s investment in the UK-based fintech startup is a mixture of debt and equity. It comes alongside an extra £15 million of lending capital for Neyber from existing investors, led by former Deutsche Bank COO Henry Ritchotte and Gael de Boissard, the former cohead of Credit Suisse’s investment bank.

neyberfounders photo

The startup was founded by three former investment bankers, including two Goldman alums. CEO Martin Ijaha, 35, left Goldman in 2012 and came up with the idea for the business when thinking about the experience of his family as a child.

Neyber has lent £70 million since 2015

“After leaving Goldman, even during my time at Goldman, I was looking at fintech,” Ijaha told Business Insider. “At that time it was defined by peer-to-peer lending, which I found interesting but really I thought there were a few fundamental flaws. There wasn’t a real value proposition for borrowers. It was largely targeting those who could already get loans from banks. I didn’t really feel that it was a sufficient solution.”

Thinking about how he might do something better for borrowers, he remembered his mother taking part in Sou-Sou, a West African savings club tradition.

Ijaha told BI: “She was a nurse. They would go to work and they would have this savings club that they called Sou-Sou, which effectively meant they put some amount of money, £50, into a pot every time they were paid. One of them would take the money home at the end of that month.”

The communal pot would act as a form of community saving, with members able to take money out when they needed.

“I just remember the experience of my mother coming back with £50 notes when it was her turn,” says Ijaha. “That was their way of helping each other save and also make sure they could borrow at reasonable rates because effectively there weren’t any rates. They did this for years and it worked.”


‘Cutting out the banks’


Ijaha and his cofounders — Monica Kalia, 44, another former Goldmanite, and Ezechi Britton, 37, an ex-Credit Suisse banker — wanted to apply this collective saving and borrowing model in the workplace because it’s “the biggest community,” Ijaha said. Credit unions also inspired them.

Initially, they ran a proof of concept with Ijaha’s former school in West London, St Charles Sixth Form College. Ijaha approached his former headmaster who “loved the idea.”

“He said, ‘Actually, we already have this issue. A number of teachers are asking me for advances on their salaries and I informally agree to do it.’ We were able to run a pilot with St Charles, we started lending with them in February 2014. We lent them up to £1,500 at a rate of up to 7.9%. We found there was significant demand to borrow.”

Neyber has also partnered with Police Mutual to offer loans to police officers.

That helped convince Police Mutual to sign-up. Police Mutual is the mutual insurance society for the UK police.

Ijaha said: “We effectively said we would help them lend to police through their salaries and they could fund the loans by issuing a savings product. You effectively create that model where you’re borrowing and savings within the workplace.”

Police Mutual not only agreed to a pilot with Neyber, but also invested in the business and put in place a £50 million debt facility it could lend to police officers.

Ijaha says: “You’re cutting out the banks, providing much higher interest on saving products, and much lower rates. We had police who were borrowing at an average rate of around 30% — we were lending at an average rate of around 7%.”

Neyber has lent over £70 million and now works with over 80 employers, including 10 NHS trusts, DHL and Anglian Water.


Cofounder Monica Kalia told BI: “The sell in to the employer is very much around financial well-being. Typically an employer would have a range of different benefits on offer outside of just pay — bike to work schemes, childcare vouchers, gym membership.

“Actually, employers increasingly understand that they need to understand financial well-being. We have a financial education portal and the aim there is to engage people with money so they’re much better informed.”

‘We’re very, very proud really’

A view of the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 16, 2013.

Ijaha wouldn’t disclose the exact breakdown between debt and equity of Goldman’s £100 million investment but said the greater part is debt.

He said the equity investment will be used to fund the development of new products, including a savings account based on salary deductions and new borrowing products.

Kalia said they are “very proud” to have sealed investment from their former employer.

“Obviously, the reputation speaks for itself. Having worked there, we know the standards that they expect. We’re very, very proud really.”

Dennis Beeson, a senior executive with Goldman Sachs Private Capital, said in a statement announcing the deal: “Employee financial wellbeing is of increasing importance to UK employers and Neyber is a key player in the evolving market. Neyber’s strong management and leading technology platform ensure its continued success.”

Ijaha said: “We spoke with the majority of providers in the market. Goldman was the most flexible and the most motivated to do a deal with us. Based on our existing relationship with Goldman, we obviously know how things work there. They did a significant amount of diligence — we’re talking six months of diligence — and were pleased with what they found.”


SIMON Cowell has revealed that his  horror fall last week was caused by low blood pressure.

The X Factor boss, 58, admits he was lucky to survive after fainting and tumbling down stairs.

After he was rushed to hospital in a neck brace and told to rest from this weekend’s shows, Cowell has vowed to change his lifestyle for the sake of three-year-old son Eric.


Simon said: “Sometimes we get a reminder that we’re not invincible and this was certainly mine. It was a huge shock.

“They think I fainted because I had low blood pressure and so I have got to really take good care of myself to sort that out.

“After all I am a dad and have more responsibility than ever.”



Simon Cowell gives a thumbs up after being rushed to hospital, fainting the day before X Factor live shows start.

Recalling the accident in detail for the first time, he said: “I’d gone to get some hot milk because I felt ropey. On the way back upstairs, I just remember feeling really dizzy.

“Next thing I know someone was putting a neck brace on me and I had a terrible headache, which must have been from me hitting the stairs. I was worried at first that I’d done some real damage.

“But I’m on the mend now. I know I was very lucky I didn’t hurt myself seriously.

“It could have been a lot worse. I must say, everyone at the hospital were incredible. I’m truly grateful.”


cowell ill

PETER JORDAN – THE SUN: Simon Cowell was stretchered out of his London home after falling down the stairs
cowell i
Simon was back home ten hours after his 999 dash at 7am on Friday.

But on docs’ advice he watched the weekend shows at home with partner Lauren Silverman, 40, and Eric. Judges Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger took charge on Saturday.

Last night they were joined by Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha.

A source said: “The medics told Simon it would be too quick for him to return to work 48 hours after a serious medical episode.

Simon Cowell listened to doctors advice and skipped the first week of live shows

“Alesha was a natural stand-in. She’s well liked and knows what she’s doing.”

Last Thursday evening, hours before the accident, Simon spoke to The Sun about the changes to the live shows and his hopes for the final.

At X Factor’s new West London studios, he said: “If we don’t find an out-and-out star this year we’ve failed. I’d blame myself. And all of us.

“You can’t get it right every year. But I’m genuinely excited by a few people we’ve turned up.”

In June, Simon Cowell pulled out of the X Factor’s London auditions over a mystery illness

This year the Sunday results show has been changed to include a second round of singing.

Simon has scrapped the survival sing-off which would see the judges vote to save their favourite act, often sparking controversy.

Instead more screen time is devoted to the most talented singers and less to the no-hoper “novelty” acts.

And in a further twist, the top-ranking performers after the weekend’s public vote will sing once more for a “money can’t buy prize”.

Simon added: “Now each weekend is like a mini-final. When we say ‘money cant buy’ it’s got to be exactly that. When the team showed me what they’d got for prizes I almost didn’t believe them. They’re bloody brilliant.”

Asked if he is desperate to emulate Strictly’s success, Simon said: “It’s the same as when you’re running a record label. You’re having a good run then out of nowhere another artist on another label starts selling gazillions.

“All you can think is ‘Right, how do I get my artist to do that too?’

“Do I always want to be more successful? One million percent.

“The truth is, and I hate to use words like ‘catch-up’ etc, but about eight million watch our show every week, and maybe even as many as ten million in the end.

“I haven’t watched Strictly in four years. I probably should. But I’m like that with the record label too.

“Sometimes you see a big album drop but you think, ‘Shall I listen to it — maybe not it’s just going to make me feel sick!’”

Simon is thrilled ex-judge Cheryl’s return as a guest has proved a hit.

He said: “She’s so quick. We’ve had our ups and down but we have an amazing working relationship. We hope to feature Cheryl in another show we’re working on. We’re going to announce it soon.”

Simon had “no idea” about Nicole Scherzinger’s future after she recently hinted she could quit.

He added: “All I would say is the people on the show have got to want to be about the contestants, I’ve always said that.

“If you’ve got bad contestants you’ve got a bad show . . . great contestants, you’ve got a shot.”



FAINTING is always due to low blood pressure at that moment.

When blood flow to the brain plummets, you lose consciousness.

Some people do have continually low blood pressure – under 90/60.

On the whole having low blood pressure is a good thing and often needs no treatment.

But some people can get symptoms like dizziness or recurrent fainting.

You can help the condition by not standing for long periods and by avoiding dehydration and excess alcohol.

Also, don’t miss meals. Have frequent small meals.



A couple of lovers have been found dead in a car parked on a side street Ogba, Lagos State.

The pair were discovered in a Toyota Corolla parked by the roadside by a tricycle rider who was alerted by the car lights being on even though the the car was motionless for a long time on Abisogun Leigh Street, .

According to the story published in PUNCH Metro, the man was found in the driver’s seat, half naked, with his private parts exposed, while the woman, who wore a dress, reclined in the passenger seat next to him.

Witnesses said it was apparent the couple had just sex just before their deaths.

The scene of the incident was behind the headquarters of the Area G Police Command, Ogba, Lagos State.

It was gathered that the executive member and the rider approached the vehicle, peeped into the car and on noting that the lovers were motionless, immediately alerted the police at the command.


The car had been moved to the premises of the Area G Police Command when our correspondent visited the scene around 2.30pm, while the corpses of the duo were said to have been deposited in a morgue.

The NURTW member, Adewale Sofuyi, confirmed that he alerted the Area G Command to the incident.

He said, “A tricycle rider approached me around 9am. He said the headlamps of a Toyota Corolla by the roadside were on and that he had knocked at the car door without getting response from the occupants.

“I followed him to the scene and confirmed what he said. The man only had a shirt on and his lower body was totally uncovered. The woman was in a gown. They were both in the front seats. The seat where the woman sat had been adjusted so that she reclined in it. From all indications, they had had sex with each other before their deaths.


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“I went to report at the area command and some policemen returned with me to the scene. The policemen moved the bodies to the back seats and drove the vehicle to the station. The police contacted the deceased families through their phones which were discovered in the car. They also discovered an empty bottle of an alcoholic drink”

According to the witness, both of the deceased families were shocked to discover the two were having an affair as the were neighbours who lived in the same building.

The Area Commander was not available for comments. However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, confirmed the report but said he had yet to be fully briefed on the matter.

He said, “They (the lovers) were taken to a hospital, where they were confirmed dead. Autopsies will be conducted on them, while investigation is ongoing to ascertain the cause of death. I don’t have their names for now.”



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