Naira makes New Gains in the Battle Against the Dollar

The continuous flooding of the foreign exchange market with dollars has crashed the currency against the local currency, Naira.
The Naira firmed up at the Bureau de Change (BDCs) segment on Thursday, trading at between N376 and N378 to the United States Dollar in Lagos, Abuja and Kano.
The crash in the dollar was caused by the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
A market survey revealed that the Naira, which sold at over N405 to $1 as for Monday this week, recorded a boost.
There were indications that the appreciation of the Naira was as a result of policy actions of the CBN to inject more foreign exchange into the financial system, specifically targeting critical sectors in addition to special interventions in the areas of SMEs and BDCs.
According to a source at the apex Bank, the Naira is expected to appreciate further when the BDCs receive another tranche of $20,000 purchases from the CBN today, April 20, 2017.
In a bid to sustain the supply of liquidity to the foreign exchange market, CBN made special interventions by simplifying the documentation process for the SMEs to enable them to import eligible items and also increased both the amount and number of sales to the BDCs.

UTME: JAMB Registers Over 1. 5 million Candidates

Candidates Taking JAMB
The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) said it had so far registered 1.5 million candidates for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) across the country.
The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, disclosed this in an interview with the newsmen on Saturday at side line of activities marking the pre-JAMB mock examinations.
It will be recalled that the JAMB mock examinations earlier scheduled to hold on Saturday May 8 had been postponed to ensure smooth conduct of the exam.
Oloyede said: “So far, it has even been better than our expectation, it was a mock, the intention was to test the technology and it proved to be perfect.
“I think from what we are seeing, we are more than ready for the main examination.
“At least 90 per cent of the examination centres have reported positively, there have been proper downloading and preparation; even after the exam we had uploaded responses of 80 per cent.
“We have done it to show that what works elsewhere across the world should work in Nigeria; we believe we can do it efficiently; we will continue to do our best.
“We have registered over 1.5million candidates in less than five weeks; we believe that the reality we have put in place is good enough.’’
Oloyede said that 633 centres were used to conduct the mock examination for 153, 000 candidates across the country.
In separate interviews, some of examination centre coordinators and candidates lauded JAMB for the mock initiative geared towards equipping the candidates to do better in the main exam.
Mr Abdul-Aziz Olasoyinka, Technical Research Officer of Digital Bridge Institute, commended JAMB for the mock examination.
He said it was apt in terms of preparation for future exams.
Olasoyinka said: “Mock is a good experience because it will help the candidates to adequately prepare for the forthcoming examination.
“It helps to evaluate how well the candidates have prepared and to improve themselves ahead of time.”
Mr Olajide Adisa, Director of Outstations at JAMB, said although there were 230 capacities at the Computer Based Test (CBT) centre, plans were on to upgrade to 250 them before the main exam.
“Even with that our specification is that at least we should have 10 per cent of same capacity as back-up in case of any breakdown.
“We have already put measures in place to test them in the course of the mock examination, they will be ready before the main examination,” Adisa said.
A candidate, Miss Hadiza Abdullahi, told NAN that the mock examination had improved her level of confidence ahead of the main exam.
She described the examination as encouraging, adding that she expects to sit for the main examination well-equipped.
Abdullahi, however appealed to the board to put measures in place to enable candidates wanting to register for future exam to do so with ease.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mock examination held in three sessions, including the JAMB headquarter and CBT centre in Kogo community. (NAN)

Man 65-yrs Drags 38-yrs-Old Wife To Court Over Adultery In Ibadan

David Adeoye: A 65-year-old man on Friday told an Ibadan Customary Court, sitting in Agodi, how his wife of 38 years committed adultery with his typist while he was away on official assignment.
The husband, Mr Alaba Aigbe, had asked the court to dissolve his marriage with Veronica over alleged adultery and witchcraft.
In his testimony, the complainant said that while he was on official assignment in Jigawa in 2006, he asked his typist to be collecting his salaries and give to his wife.
“Since the assignment will take a year to complete, I asked my typist to receive my salaries on my behalf and forward it to my wife because I did not want her and the children to suffer when I was away.
“My typist used the opportunity to woo my wife and they started the illicit affairs until 2007 when I returned home.
“I suspected the immorality when things turned upside down for my family and I sought for a spiritual solution.
“It was in the course of finding a solution to the problem that I got to know about the relationship between her and the typist.
“She confessed to me but said the typist only fingered her private part on four different occasions when I was away.
“I told her that the only condition to forgive her was to follow me to my village to make some rituals and appeal to my family gods because adultery is an abomination in my village.
“She refused to follow me, saying that she is a Deaconess and that she had taken the typist to her pastor for confession of sin and forgiveness,” the complainant narrated.
In her defense, Veronica, who did not deny the allegation, said her husband was the cause of the incident, saying that she had warned her husband not to allow the typist come to their house.
Veronica, however, pleaded the court not to dissolve the marriage which was blessed with seven children, saying she had suffered enough about the issue.
In his judgment, Chief Mukaila Balogun, the president of the court, dissolved the marriage and ordered the complainant to pay N17,000 to the defendant for her to pack her load.
Balogun further directed that the defendant should take custody of the seventh child while the husband should pay her N5000 monthly allowance or the upkeep of the child.

Kogi Govt. To Prosecute Workers Indicted By Staff Screening Committee

The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has vowed to prosecute workers indicted by the Staff Screening Appeal Committee set up by the State Government, to verify genuine and non genuine workers.

Governor Bello who stated this while receiving the final report of the screening exercise from the Chairman of the Committee in Government House, Lokoja, said his administration has zero tolerance for corruption.

The 36 man staff complaint appeal committee was saddled with the responsibility to attend to public servant who wish to appeal the decision of the screening review and complaint committee was inaugurated by Governor Bello on January 26 2017.

At the banquet hall of the Government House, are top government officials, Heads of Ministries and Parastatals, Labour leaders and their officials, Representative of Security Agency in the state and the committee members.

While appealing to the Governor to temper justice with mercy, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman said the labour would hold a meeting and come out with their position.

Governor Bello, who faulted the workforce, said their lack of cooperation is what extended the screening which would have been done within a short time with the staff verification exercise coming to an end.

 

US Senator Merkley in Marathon 15-1/2 hour speech

A Democratic senator, Jeff Merkley  delivered a 15-1/2-hour, all-night speech denouncing President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee on Wednesday.

However,  his marathon speech will not make the Guinness World. Records: it was the eighth longest in the history of the US senate.

Merkley from Oregon took his colleagues through the laborious speech in a bid to join efforts to block Senate confirmation of Neil Gorsuch in a heated political showdown between Democrats and Republicans.

Merkley began his speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday evening and wrapped up mid-morning on Wednesday.

The Senate is expected to vote on Thursday at 11 a.m. to try to end a Democratic procedural effort called a filibuster aimed at blocking Gorsuch’s confirmation to a lifetime post on the court.

Republicans were expected to fall short of being able to halt the filibuster, but said they had the votes needed to then immediately change the Senate rules to prohibit filibusters against Supreme Court nominees. Republicans said Gorsuch would be confirmed on Friday one way or the other.

Senate confirmation of Gorsuch, 49, would reinstate the court’s conservative majority, allow Trump to leave an indelible mark on America’s highest judicial body and fulfill a top campaign promise by the Republican president.

Toward the end of his marathon speech, Merkley looked weary, his suit jacket unbuttoned and his yellow tie billowing out. He stood beside an easel holding graphics that an aide would periodically adjust.

“For the first time in U.S. history, a seat has been stolen from one president and delivered to another in a court-packing scheme. If that were to succeed, it would set a precedent that will haunt the court for decades to come,” Merkley said.

He noted that the Republicans who control the Senate refused last year to consider former Democratic President Barack Obama’s nomination of appellate judge Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016, the same seat Gorsuch now has been named to fill.

Later on the Senate floor, Republican Senator Cory Gardner countered that such an argument amounted to advocating that “two wrongs must make a right.”

Merkley criticized Gorsuch’s legal opinions and said Gorsuch would become a conservative legal activist on the court.

At one point, Merkley read a 1998 speech by one of the past giants of the Senate, Democrat Robert Byrd, decrying partisanship in Congress.

“I believe that the American people are more than tired of partisan warfare. I believe they wish for less of it from Congress, especially in the Senate, where more statesmanship and a longer view are expected,” Merkley said, quoting Byrd.

The Senate has a lengthy history of long speeches, including notable ones in recent years by Senators Ted Cruz, Chris Murphy and Rand Paul.

The Senate Historical Office listed Merkley’s speech at 15 hours and 26 minutes, the eighth longest in Senate history. The longest came in 1957 when segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes against legislation, later enacted, protecting black voting rights.

Nigeria urges investment in Africa’s teenage girls

Aisha Buhari urging Nigerians to live in peace

Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Population Commission (NPC), have called for urgent investment in Africa’s out-of-school teenage girls.

Buhari and the commission, made the call at a side event organised by the Federal Government in collaboration with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) at the UN headquarters on Wednesday in New York.

The event was part of the on-going 50th session of the UN Commission on Population and Development.

Buhari, whose speech was read by Rep. Asabe Bashir, Deputy Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Women in Parliament, said the population of Africa’s out-of-school teenage girls was alarming.

“Out-of-school teenage girls – ages 10 to 19 years – represent almost a quarter of the female population in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“These girls are without opportunities to attend schools or complete their education because of severe economic, social and cultural issues.

“These issues include poverty; early, forced or child marriage; childbearing and motherhood; and lack of access to quality and timely reproductive health care services among others.

“The conditions are particularly worse for those girls caught in the web of insurgency. Thus, they are on the verge of losing the opportunities of achieving their aspirations,’’ Buhari said.

According to her, the event was Nigeria’s means of calling global attention to the three enumerated areas of investment that are prerequisite to realising the girls’ full potential.

The areas of investment are sexual and reproductive health, re-enrolment into formal schools to at least secondary school completion level; and skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.

The wife of the president explained that the event was aimed at presenting different dimensions of the challenges that these out-of-school teenage girls encountered.

“It is also to showcase how a modest investment in their lives can make difference and accrue benefits that are important for realising the future we want in Africa.’

“The future that we want is reaping demographic dividends, achieving sustainable development and relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to our development aspirations.

“By this, Nigeria welcomes partnerships and collaborations that will support efforts in Africa.

“Such efforts must be tailored towards ensuring that these girls are not left behind as we strive to achieve the SDGs.”

Also speaking, the Chairman, NPC, Mr Eze Duruiheoma, said “if we must reap demographic dividend in Africa, all population segments, particularly those further left behind, must be included.

“The demography in focus – out-of-school teenage girls – constitutes a huge resource for reaping the dividend we seek, which is full implementation of the 2030 agenda.

“The agenda seeks to realise the SDGs, if the right and timely investments are made to address their needs.

“The event is to showcase the far-reaching benefits derivable from investing in the girls’ education – re-enrolment to completion of at least secondary school level’’.

The Director-General of the commission, Mr Ghaji Bello, called for the enforcement of the relevant laws that made provision for ensuring that children are educated to a basic level.

“We have the resources to do that in Nigeria and we have to hold our leaders accountable to the promises they made to the people.

“If our leaders can spend only 10 per cent of the resources on those things which make life meaningful for the masses, there will be great improvements in the lives of the citizens,’’ Bello said.

In his remarks, the Charge D’affaires, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, Anthony Bosah, regretted the impacts of culture and corruption on the continent and its citizens.

Represented by the Spokesperson for the Mission, Bolaji Akinremi, Bosah said the mission recently sponsored a resolution on “Illicit Financial Flows and Asset Recovery” at the UN.

According to him, this is in tandem with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda.

The theme of the event, attended by African representatives and partners, was: “Investing In Out-of-school Teenage Girls: A Priority for Achieving Demographic Dividend, Sustainable Development and SDGs in Africa’’. (NAN)

Beyoncé most influential celebrity

American music superstar Beyonce, has been named the most influential celebrity, with her Instagram posts worth One Million Dollars each, on a photo-sharing website by D’Marie Analytics.

According to Time.com, using an algorithm that measures 56 metrics across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the star’s value was determined.

Those metrics did include the followers count, but they also encompassed reach, engagement, click-through, and action conversions.

Frank Spadafora, Chief Executive of D’Marie, said Beyonce’s “limited” use of social media had boosted her earning power.

“Her limited release of exclusive curated content causes such frenzy from her audience.”

Beyonce’s popularity was evidenced earlier this year when she took to Instagram to announce she is expecting twins.

The post attracted 6,335,571 ‘likes’ within eight hours and subsequently broke the record for the most-liked image on the website.

Beyonce’s snap of her cradling her baby bump overtook the previous record of Selena Gomez.

Gomez achieved 6.6 million ‘likes’ from her 116 million followers in response to a picture of her sipping from a Coca-Cola bottle.

She has been named as the second-most influential celebrity on social media, with her posts estimated to be worth 775,000 Dollars each across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Despite this, Gomez recently admitted her “addiction” to Instagram made her feel awful. (NAN)

Breaking: Explosion kills 10 in Russia’s metro train

At least 10 people were killed by an explosion inside a metro train at the Sennaya Square station in St. Petersburg in Russia.

Report says an unidentified device exploded in a train car.

“According to information available at this point ten people died. Others were injured,” a source said.

The number of casualties was still to be specified and rescue workers and law enforcement personnel are working at the scene.

Meanwhile evacuation of people from St. Petersburg’s metro after an explosion is now over, Andrei Przhezdomsky, a spokesman for the National Anti-terrorist Committee (NAC).

“So far, we say it was an unidentified explosive device as investigators and the Federal Security Service’s bomb specialists are to establish the exact cause of this explosion… Evacuation is over, medical assistance is offered to those hurt,” he said.

“All necessary measures are being taken to ensure people’s security. We will do our best to prevent more possible explosions and other criminal actions,” he pledged.

Seven metro stations in the city have been closed following the blast.

They are Park Pobedy, Elektrosila, Moskovskiye Vorota, Frunzenskaya, Tekhnologichesky Institut, Sennaya Ploshchad and Gostiny Dvor.

Security measures have been enhanced at St. Petersburg’s airport Pulkovo following the explosion, TASS reports.

“The airport has tightened security measures, including security control at the airport’s entrances and pre-flight inspections.”

Law enforcement agencies are taking all necessary security measure, head of the Information Center of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, assured.

FSB specialists together with investigators will quickly investigate the circumstances,” he said.

“All necessary measures to ensure the safety of citizens are taken. We will do everything to avert other possible explosions or other deeds of crime,” he added.

“At the moment we say this is an unidentified explosive device, as investigators and bomb specialists of the Federal Security Service (FSB) must clearly define the cause of the blast,” Przhezdomsky said.

“We know that people were killed or wounded, their number is updated. Evacuation as such has ended, and aid is administered to the injured,” he went on.

He said all necessary material and human resources were pulled in to the site.

Glut of eggs unsettles poultry farners hit Plateau

The glut of eggs in Plateau state is likely to discourage farmers from further production and cause a collapse in the poultry sector.

The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), has therefore, appealed to the state Government to intervene and mop up the surplus eggs from the farmers.

Mr John Dasar, Chairman of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Jos, that the price of egg had been on a steady decline.

While there is a consistent decrease in price, price of chicken feeds had been on the increase, making poultry farming an unfruitful venture.

The association lodged a complaint to the state government last week to the State’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Linda Barau.

“It is only Plateau that a crate of egg goes for N700, while a bag of chicken feeds as at today goes for N3,700, making the poultry business largely unprofitable.

“So, we are pleading with government to help mop these eggs so as to help our farmers bounce back to business,’’ he said.

Dasar noted that the state stood the risk of losing huge revenues if the glut continued, adding that most farms would be forced to close down, thereby increasing the menace of unemployment in the state.

He said that if the association kept mute over the precarious situation, it would not be doing the government any good because the economy of the state would be greatly affected.

Beware! Pirated copies of NIC rules in circulation

The National Industrial Court (NIC), says pirated copies of its new Civil Procedure Rules 2017, are in circulation and advised legal practitioners to buy the book through approved channels.

Mr Olurotimi Daudu, Deputy Chief Registrar of NIC, said some legal practitioners complained they had sighted the pirated copies of the rules in some locations across the country.

Daudu spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

He noted that while piracy was a great challenge in Nigeria, it was particularly dangerous to the judiciary, as laws could be misrepresented, and could distort legal proceedings.

”The public has to be aware, when you see somebody hawking the rules of court by the roadside, at road intersections and you choose to patronise them; most times you may not get the right thing.

”On our part, we have sent copies of the rules to every faculty of law, every library in Nigeria, and every known public institution in Nigeria.

”We have in some occasions distributed copies of the rules in court even though they are for sale and we expended money printing them , just to limit the influence of pirates.

”We have tried to really reach out to people at every strata of the society to ensure that they have the correct version of the rules,” he said.

Daudu urged litigants and legal practitioners to ensure that they purchase the new rules through the approved channels.