Editor 1: https://reubenabati.com.ng/administrator
Link: www.reubenabati.com.ng/ webmail
password : #reubenabati2017
Latest new password: &Abati&#-2022
Password : abati1990
Infomation for Advert manager
WEBSITE ADMIN LINK; https://reubenabati.com.ng/administrator
WEBSITE EMAIL LINK; http://reubenabati.com.ng/webmail
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the world’s first medicine based on CRISPR gene-editing technology, a groundbreaking treatment for sickle cell disease that delivers a potential cure for people born with the chronic and life-shortening blood disorder.
The new medicine, called Casgevy, is made by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics. Its authorization is a scientific triumph for the technology that can efficiently and precisely repair DNA mutations — ushering in a new era of genetic medicines for inherited diseases.
In a clinical trial, Casgevy was shown to eliminate recurrent episodes of debilitating pain caused by sickle cell, which afflicts approximately 100,000 people in the U.S., a vast majority of whom are Black. The therapy, whose scientific name is exa-cel, is described as a potential cure because the genetic fix enabled by CRISPR is designed to last a lifetime, although confirmation will require years of follow-up.
The FDA decision comes three weeks after regulators in the U.K. were the first to clear the drug. Approval in the European Union is expected next year. The FDA is also expected to rule on exa-cel as a
“I’m skeptical that this will open the floodgates, as some people are predicting,” said Akshay Sharma, a physician who treats children with sickle cell at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Casgevy has the potential to be a “transformative therapy,” Sharma added, but “I would expect physicians and patients to be nervous and hesitant” until its long-term efficacy and safety are better defined.
Sickle cell disease is caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for the production of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. The mutation causes red blood cells to become misshapen. Under a microscope, they look like crescents or sickles, which gives the disease its name. When sickled red cells clump together, they clog blood vessels, robbing tissues of oxygen and causing bouts, or “crises,” of extreme pain, hospitalizations, organ damage, stroke, and early death.
Physicians who treat people with sickle cell today prescribe a number of medicines that can reduce the frequency of pain crises, increase hemoglobin levels, or ameliorate symptoms, but none targets the underlying genetic cause of the disease. Stem cell transplants can be curative, but the procedure requires patients to have a donor with matched immune cells, which occurs infrequently.
This is what makes Casgevy different. It edits a patient’s own blood stem cells to produce high levels of fetal hemoglobin — the healthy, oxygen-carrying form of the protein that is produced during fetal development but normally shuts down soon after birth. Researchers had previously identified a certain genetic mutation that causes fetal hemoglobin to persist into adulthood. When this happens to people with sickle cell, their disease is mild and outcomes are greatly improved.
Casgevy uses the CRISPR-Cas9 enzyme to mimic this protective genetic mutation. It makes a cut at a specific spot in a gene called BCL11A. The edit, in turn, disables a DNA brake on the production of fetal hemoglobin.
Bluebird’s gene therapy works through another route, delivering, with the help of a virus, a copy of a gene into patients’ cells that enables them to produce healthy hemoglobin. In a clinical trial, 28 out of 32 patients lived free of pain crises during the study period after receiving Lyfgenia.
The clinical trial conducted by Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics that supported Casgevy’s approval enrolled 30 people with sickle cell, aged 12 to 35, who were, on average, experiencing four severe pain episodes per year and just under three hospitalizations per year.
Within three months of receiving a single Casgevy infusion, all of the study participants began producing protective levels of fetal hemoglobin. All but one of the participants achieved the main goal of the study — freedom from severe pain episodes for at least one year following treatment. Twenty-eight participants remained free of pain episodes for an average of 22 months. The first person treated with Casgevy in the clinical trial, a woman named Victoria Gray, has now gone more than four years without a severe pain episode.
The FDA recently held a meeting with outside experts about Casgevy, which focused on “off-target” editing — that is, any potential inadvertent changes the medicine may make in patients’ cells — underscoring how scientists and regulators are adapting to this new class of genetic medicines. On Friday, the FDA said the treatment’s label will include a caution about the “potential” risk of off-target edits.
“Genome editing is something special and it may redefine the paradigm of medicine over the next 30-40 years,” said CRISPR Therapeutics CEO Samarth Kulkarni. “Exa-cel’s approval represents the start of it. “We can fundamentally alter the genes that cause disease to create a functional, lifelong solution with a single administration. That’s a new paradigm, and it’s only powered by genome editing.”
CRISPR Therapeutics was founded in 2013 soon after Charpentier and Doudna published their seminal CRISPR paper. Work on what is now Casgevy started in earnest two years later, with Vertex on board as a partner and investor. The first clinical trial involving patients with sickle cell began in 2019.
Casgevy is often described as a one-time treatment, but that convenience underrepresents the arduous and lengthy steps required before it’s administered. Patients first have their blood stem cells removed through a process called apheresis; the cells are then shipped off to a company-run manufacturing lab where they are edited. While cells are prepared, patients must undergo a preparatory treatment with a chemotherapy drug to remove any native stem cells that might remain in their bone marrow.
This “conditioning” step is crucial because it provides space in the bone marrow for the functional, CRISPR-edited cells to engraft and grow. But the chemotherapy drug used, called busulfan, wipes out germ-fighting immune cells and can cause serious side effects, including infertility — a particularly troublesome risk factor for people who wish to have children.
The actual injection of Casgevy is quick, but patients must remain in the hospital for weeks until their immune system recovers and the risk of serious infection abates.
Vertex estimates about 25,000 people in the U.S. and Europe might be good candidates for Casgevy — consisting mostly of people with more severe disease who are willing to undergo the arduous procedure and accept the risks.
“The initial patients will be motivated because they’ve been following, they’re interested, and they believe the benefits outweigh the risks and the current challenges,” said David Altshuler, Vertex’s chief scientific officer. “But I think the other thing that will happen is a sort of community aspect, where patients will be watching other patients in their care centers and in their community. Over time, that will build confidence and trust.”
Both regulators in the U.K. and the FDA approved Casgevy for people as young as 12.
“We’ve heard consistently from physicians that they are interested in treating patients who are younger,” said Stuart Arbuckle, Vertex’s chief operating officer. “The disease has taken hold less, and so these patients have fewer complications and more of a lifetime of benefit to gain. And they tend to be able to schedule this procedure into their life a bit easier than a working adult. They also tend to do really well versus older people.”
Sharma, the sickle cell expert at St. Jude’s, intends to take a more cautious approach.
“As long as we don’t have evidence of long-term safety, I would be hesitant to expose young children to this therapy, which is still so novel,” he said. “I think the ideal patient is an adult who has severe disease not controlled by currently available treatments.”
Hsu, the University of Illinois physician, has already started speaking to his patients about undergoing treatment with Casgevy. Patients with more severe sickle cell disease “who have seen how bad it can be, especially as they grow older” are likely to be the first to seek out treatment, he said.
He’s also counseled some adolescent patients who expressed initial interest in Casgevy but have since decided to wait because the medicines they take today to control their disease are working. “These are younger people whose organs are in good enough shape that they could go through this, and their disease severity is high enough that they would be eligible.”
Vertex, which is running point on Casgevy’s commercial launch, has said previously that it expects a slow uptake, given the complexity of treatment and the need to sort out reimbursement and access.
Lyfgenia’s approval came with a black box warning about the possibility that patients who receive the therapy might later develop blood cancer and should be monitored for that risk. Two patients in trials of the drug died of blood cancers, and studies concluded that the cancers were caused by the chemotherapy conditioning regimen for the treatment, not Lyfgenia itself.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Betta Edu says her nomination as a minister was an answer to her late last year prayer at Shiloh 2022.
Shiloh, a yearly event by the Living Faith Church better known as Winners’ Chapel, attracts millions of Christian faithful in and around the country and is held in the first week of December.
While recounting her experience in the 2022 edition of the six-day programme, Edu said the Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church David Oyedepo had prayed about her desire to become a minister in the country.
“Church praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!! My name is Dr. Betta Edu and I came to thank God,” she said on Friday’s Hour of Visitation at the Canaanland premises of the Winners’ Chapel in the Ota area of Ogun State.
“Last year at Shiloh 2022, I prayed and told God that by the next time I come for the next year’s Shiloh, I want to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“On the last day of Shiloh, just as I was walking out, I saw Papa, Bishop David Oyedepo, and I went to greet him and meet him as usual and I whispered to him, ‘Papa, I need you to pray for me. I have just one prayer request now’. And he said, ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘I want to come back to Shiloh 2023 as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. He put his hand on my head and he said, ‘It is done’. I stood up and I left.
“I came today to return all glory to God that in spite of all odds, today I’m a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. One of the youngest in the Fourth Republic.
“People my age, are not at the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria in this Fourth Republic. But today, I can boldly stand here to say, ‘God did it’. I came to return all glory to God.”
Edu was among the ministers screened and confirmed by the Senate in early August. At 37, she is one of the youngest ministers in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet and was until her appointment the National Women Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
[FULL SPEECH] Governor Umo Eno Delivers First of Ten Brand New Airbus-A-220-300 Series at Victor Attah International AirportWritten by Admin
1. We are gathered here today, to celebrate vision and a passion for professionalism and effective service delivery.
2. It was a little over four years ago, that we had gathered at this same location, to witness the commencement of commercial operations for Ibom Air.
3. At that time, the airline, had two CRJ 900 Bombardier aircrafts in its fleet. Less than a year after it started operations, three additional CRJ 900 Bombardier aircrafts were added to its fleet, bringing it to five.
4. A year later, the airline further expanded its fleet with the addition of two brand new A220-300 Airbus series, the first of its kind in Nigerian aviation industry, bringing the total fleet to seven.
5. In the course of this period, Ibom Air became the toast of air travelers across Nigeria and a most preferred airline in the country, illuminating and defining the Nigerian airspace with the bright colors of our dear State.
6. At the Dubai Airshow in November 2021, the State Government, led by the visioner of this project and my worthy predecessor, the immediate past Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, CON, signed a contract for the purchase of ten brand new Airbus - A200-300 series. Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here to welcome to the fleet of Ibom Air, the first of those ten Airbuses we had ordered.
7. Let me use this opportunity to thank our past leaders for the various works they did, to move our dear state from its humble beginnings 36 years ago, at its creation to today, where we are easily ranked as a subnational with easily the best road network and other infrastructural amenities in the nation.
8. Let me particularly celebrate and thank my worthy predecessor for his vision in conceptualizing and breathing life into this pride of Akwa Ibom and pride of Nigeria in the aviation industry, Ibom Air. When this idea was first announced, the usual naysayers had dismissed it as a flash of wishful thinking. But as he always would say: The answer to doubters is success that shocks and confounds. Today, Ibom Air is the leading brand in the Nigerian aviation industry, a mere four years plus after it started commercial operations.
9. Let me at this time, salute the management and staff of this airline for the professionalism and great service delivery it has brought to bear in its operations.
10. Even though this airline is owned 100 percent by the State Government, we have allowed the management to run its operations as a purely private concern and the result, has been the spectacular and phenomenal growth it has recorded so far.
11. In under five years, Ibom Air has expanded its routes to major cities in Nigeria and recently started its commercial operations to Accra, Ghana. Plans are afoot to expand the routes into the East, Central and South African regions.
12. My administration is dedicated to supporting the giant strides the airline has made. We have kept faith with all previous financial obligations entered into, with Airbus, by the immediate past administration and the result of that, is the event we are witnessing today. Government is a continuum. 1st Corinthians chapter 3: 6, captures this critical element of continuity succinctly and I quote from King James Version “ I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase”. We, will in our way, provide the increase. Since we came on board, we have provided the funds for the training of pilots and the deepening of the already first- class Cabin services of the airline.
13. We have done extensive work on the Airside perimeter fencing of the airport, and the continuous funding of the 8.5 km Airside patrol road, which is now ready for commissioning. We have equally continued the funding of the parallel Taxiway Rapid Exit, the Apron Construction, International Terminal Building, the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul ( MRO) facility, the VIP Car Park, Access Road into the Terminal Building and the underground drain alongside the CCTV Control and Command Center.
14. Ibom Air was one of the first places I visited shortly after I was sworn in, and I had assured the management of the commitment of my administration to see to the expansion and growth of the airline. I have also, flown Ibom Air, as its Chief Marketing Officer, and what an exciting and pleasurable moment it was! To the Chief Executive Officer, our dear Captain Mfon Udom, please be kind enough to extend me an invitation to be a part of the inaugural flight on this beautiful aircraft. I will pay for myself and those to accompany me.
16. I want to commend and salute the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, who had assured me, during my recent courtesy call on him, of his willingness to partner with us. I thank you, Sir for your kind assurances .
17. Let me again thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for being a great father of the nation, and for engendering a spirit of bipartisan in our political engagements.
18. Let me also thank the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio , CON, for his support in moving our State forward. Let me also commend and salute the father of modern Akwa Ibom State, Arc (Obong)Victor Attah, whom this airport is appropriately named after, for being the one who started the construction of this airport and mooted the idea for the construction of the MRO. We certainly have been very blessed with great and visionary leaders! I am dedicated to expanding and enlarging, the great works these leaders had started, by the grace of God.
19. To the management and staff of Ibom Air, a great job done, means more work to be done. We have no doubt you will keep rising to the occasion and exceed expectations. Congratulations Ibom Air, congratulations Akwa Ibom State and congratulations Nigeria!
God bless us all
See Pictures Below:
Ogun State Government has announced a N50m reward for anybody who could provide information leading to the arrest of the killers of Mr Taiwo Oyekanmi, the former Director of Finance and Administration attached to Governor Dapo Abiodun’s office, Oke-Mosan Abeokuta.
51-year-old Oyekanmi was killed last Wednesday, November 29 by gunmen at the Kuto Flyover Bridge in Abeokuta.
The bounty was announced in a statement on Friday by the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi in Abeokuta, the state capital.
It read, “The Ogun State Government has announced a reward of fifty (50) million naira for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the killers of the state’s Director of Finance and Administration (DFA), Mr. Taiwo Oyekanmi, on 29th November, 2023 in Abeokuta.
“Information provided would be treated with utmost confidentiality. Such information can be sent to the under-listed telephone numbers: 08037441955, 08033074371, 08081775020, 08034062773, 08032136765.”
Oyekanmi was accosted by the gun-wielding hoodlums, alongside two others, while returning to the Governor’s Office with money said to have been withdrawn from two major commercial banks within the Abeokuta metropolis.
The Adamawa State Police Command has nabbed a 17-year-old boy for alleged intimacy with a cock.
The Command which tagged the act as an ‘unnatural offence’, said in a press statement, on Friday that the arrest of the boy followed a complaint made to the Police by one Esther Dimas, a resident of Viniklang, a residential community in Girei Local Government Area, just a 1.6km long bridge away from the Jimeta axis of the state capital, Yola.
The statement, released by the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Suleiman Nguroje, said the complainant caught the teenage suspect in the act.
“Another 17-year-old suspect identified as Lawali Mori, a resident of Viniklang, has been arrested for having unlawful carnal knowledge of a cock against the order of nature,” the Police stated.
According to the statement, the suspect confessed that he sexually assaulted the cock, although “he could not add reasons to why he did such a thing.”
The statement said the state Commissioner of Police, CP Afolabi Babatola, had directed a discreet investigation into the matter.
The Nigeria Defence Headquarters has made a promise to Nigerians.
It said it would no longer bomb any target unless it was 100 percent sure.
This followed the accidental bombing of civilians in the Tudun Biri community, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State by unmanned drones of the Nigerian Army, last Sunday,
“Henceforth, we will be 100 percent sure of our target before we carry out bombings,” Director of Defence Media Operations, Major Gen Edward Buba, said as he revealed the casualty figure of the aerial bombardment.
According to him, 81 persons were killed and 70 were injured.
“We, as the Armed Forces of Nigeria, will continue to conduct our operations consistent with the rules of engagement, which we have always done and our operations wËll always be joint.
“Regarding the incident that happened in Kaduna, the military always learns from its operations and continues to build from it. The military will deal with it squarely. We will ensure that we have zero occurrences in the future.”
On allegations by an Arewa group that the bombing was aimed at reducing the population of the North, Gen Buba faulted such thinking, saying: “The armed forces of Nigeria is a professional force. We have members from every tribe, ethnic group from all parts of this country. Whatever that group is saying, it is faulty, it is in error and unpatriotic.
“We should realise that it is not just the military that is at war, all the country is at war. We are in it together. The country is taking part in the war. We will make sure that going forward, we get more training, more understanding of the processes and protocols involved to make sure that next time, we are 100 per cent sure before we carry out bombings.
“For now, we will continue to urge communities to pass information to us. Ie you see something, know something, give us information, and timely, too.”
$592,000 Crypto Scam: Nigerian Internet Fraudster Who Defrauds Victims In US, Singapore, Rwanda, 10 Other Countries ArrestedWritten by Admin
On Thursday, December 7, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), secured the conviction and sentencing of Eze Harrison Arinze in court.
Arinze was convicted by Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for defrauding 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two Thousand United States Dollars).
Arinze was re-arraigned on one count bordering on impersonation and obtaining under false pretence.
The amended count charge reads: “That you, Eze Harrison Arinze alias Charlotte Brain, sometime between April 2021 and December 2022 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, did fraudulently impersonate one Charlotte Brain a purported owner of digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx investment platforms on telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through your bitcoin address - 333AgHuT8wAhowRBQZ2ASxxxxxxxx domiciled with Coinbase, a Virtual Asset Service Provider and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(3)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
Given the guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Christopher Mshelia urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.
Earlier, Ogunjobi Olalekan, a prosecuting witness and a detective of EFCC, while concluding his testimony -in -chief told the court that the evidence gotten in the course of the investigation was based on the printout from the defendant`s email, other digital currency platforms, his telegram page code-named `Digi-trade, including response from banks which was in a cumulative sum of $592,000 worth of cryptocurrency as at December 4, 2023.
He added that the defendant was afterwards invited to make statements under words of caution.
Justice Omotosho convicted and sentenced Arinze to three years imprisonment, with an option of N3,000,000.00 (Three Million Naira only) fine. He added that 11.07 Bitcoins valued at $461,280.70 as of December 4, 2023 be restituted to the 34 victims from 13 countries as identified.
Furthermore, the judge ordered that a total sum of N37,977,108 domiciled in his bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government, including a plot of land located at plot No. 34 Anioma Layout, Umuchigbo Iji-nike in the Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, measuring approximately 1380.609 squares meters.
According to the EFCC, Arinze’s journey to the correctional centre started when he impersonated one Charlotte Brain and created a fictitious investment platform, digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxxon telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through his bitcoin address.
His victims are from Burundi, Cameroun, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.
The Oyo State Police Command said it has apprehended the policemen sighted in a now-viral video demanding money from a female biker who was on a tour of Nigeria from the Netherlands.
The command, in a post on X on Thurday, said the operatives will face disciplinary actions.
“Viral video portraying the regrettable misconduct of certain policemen along Moniya-Iseyin Road has been accessed. All those involved have been apprehended for immediate disciplinary actions. Supervision will be increased. Please report any misconduct to Xsquad on +2348023535470,” the post read.
In the video, the officers had flagged down the biker, asking her where she was from and where she was heading.
The Dutch replied that she was from the Netherlands and she was on her way to Abuja, apparently surprising the two officers.
Interacting with the biker further in pidgin, the officers said: “Wetin you bring come? Wetin you won give me. O yah give me something nah.”
The tourist appeared not to comprehend the officers’ message until they clearly said, “Give me money, money,” to which she asked, “Why?”
The 1:26-minute video drew reactions from Nigerians who felt embarrassed by the policemen’s actions.
For the first time in the history of the governorship election in Edo State, the aspirants are over 68 in the three big political parties, with more expected to join the race before the sales of forms begin. ADEYINKA ADEDIPE writes on the return of the seasoned campaigners and the new aspirants who are hoping to upset the old order
Politicians are die-hard optimists. Even when the odds are stacked against them and their chances look slim, the belief that they will win every contest is unshaken. One cannot blame them for this in a country where a candidate who finished third in an election was eventually sworn in after a court adjudged that he scored the “highest valid vote”.
It is such optimism that is driving the old guards and the new aspirants in Edo State as they continue to declare their intention to run for the governorship seat in 2024. As of Monday, the intending aspirants from the Peoples Democratic Party, All Progressives Congress, and the Labour Party are 68 with more expected to join the race. The LP has 28 aspirants, the APC has 29, and the PDP has 11, while it is certain that more aspirants will join the race from other smaller parties.
The aspirants are made up of old guards and new entrants while the decision by the APC not to heed the clamour to zone the ticket to Edo Central may see more aspirants joining the race.
Unexpectedly, the state APC chairman, Col. David Imuse (retd) has also thrown his heart in the ring with serving senators and members of the House of Representatives also joining. Spokesman to General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) and former Commissioner for Information, Kassim Afegbua; Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who was the APC candidate in 2020 are also said to be in the race.
Battling for the APC ticket too is Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd), a former Accountant General of the Nigeria Army and Director of Finance administration of NDDC.
One of the seasoned campaigners, Kenneth Imasuagbon, who has aspired most (four times), under different political parties is now gunning for the seat for the fifth time under the LP. He caused a stir last week when he urged party faithful not to give the ticket to political neophytes while on a visit to Igarra in Akoko Edo Local government.
Imasuagbon said people should not compare him to a former Nigeria Bar Association, Olumide Akpata or the first member House of Representatives, Dorry Okogie, both of whom, he described as ‘newbies in politics,” adding, “don’t make a mistake of giving your vote to unpopular candidates. We need a popular candidate that can take on the PDP and APC.”
Okojie, in a statement over the weekend, had urged Imasuangbon to focus on promoting a culture of respect and professionalism in political discourse.
He advised Imasuangbon to promote inclusive politics rather than personal attacks and innuendos.
Okojie said, “I strongly believe that it is essential to promote a culture of respect and professionalism in political discourse. I acknowledge the passion and dedication of all individuals involved in the political landscape, and I firmly believe in the importance of maintaining a respectful and constructive dialogue.
“As such, I advise we foster unity and mutual understanding rather than resort to personal attacks or divisive language.
I hope that we can collectively work towards a future that prioritizes healthy and respectful interactions, enabling us to focus on the issues that truly matter to the people,” he added.
Apart from Imasuagbon, the deputy governor of the state, Philip Shaibu who is at loggerheads with Governor Godwin Obaseki over his ambition to succeed his principal, declared his intention last week Monday. He said he had been in politics for 30 years and was ready to continue the giant stride taken by his boss.
An ally of the deputy governor, Immam Babangida said that Shaibu had the chance to pick the PDP ticket if the party provided a level playing ground for all the aspirants.
He said: “I am happy that the governor said that it is the members of the party that will determine Shaibu’s fate. But Governor Obaseki and the PDP must ensure there is a level playing ground for everyone to operate. Shaibu has the pedigree to win the ticket at the primaries.
“He has done well throughout his career and he is the only one who can help the PDP to remain in the saddle in the state. Without him, the PDP cannot win the election.
In all of this, Governor Obaseki has thrown his weight behind the Chairman, Sterling Bank, Asuen Ighodalo, whom he had introduced to leaders of the party in the three senatorial districts.
Though Ighodalo has yet to make a formal declaration, he has been consulting with leaders in Edo Central where he hails from as a springboard to realise his ambition. His plans, according to his close aides, is to visit all stakeholders in the three political zones, before he makes a formal declaration. He is a technocrat with a national reach who can also ensure the state moves on the part of development.
Among the first timers, Dennis Idahosa, the member representing Ovia Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, stands out on account of his popularity, vibrancy, and youthfulness. He is also believed to be in the good books of the party leaders to clinch the APC ticket. He battled the Igbinedion’s political dynasty, won the election twice, and with projects he brought to his constituency he has warmed himself into the heart of the electorate.
Another contender, Johnson Agbonayinma, a former Senior Special Adviser to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a former member of the House of Representatives, a former member of the Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, and acting chairman, the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The women are also not left out in the jostle for the state’s top seat as Dr Angela Ason-Aburime, Dr Loretta Ogboror-Okor, and Dr Emily Okojie are pulling their weights in the LP.
Speaking on the high number of aspirants and what this means for the fight to succeed Governor Obaseki, the state PDP Chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi said it is good for democracy as many people are getting more involved in politics either as aspirants or electorate.
He said, “I imagine that people are taking that conscious step to be aspirants in a political party. In the PDP, we are excited that we have aspirants with capacity, character and content. Right now, we have 11 aspirants, nine from Edo Central, and one each from Edo South and Edo North. There was a Special Edo Central Committee meeting on Sunday with the aspirants and out of the nine that have expressed interest in the contest, seven showed up and two sent in apologies. This shows that people want to identify with a successful party.
“The high number is good for democracy, people believe in the system the PDP has put in place, they believe the party will organise a credible congress and primaries and that is why they are showing interest. So we are excited that there are many aspirants. We are not worried that there are so many aspirants as we still expect more people to join the race.
“All the aspirants in PDP have content and are credible. Anyone who emerges as the candidate of the party can win the governorship election, he added.
Aziegbemi also noted that the registration of new members currently ongoing in the state would strengthen the party.
He added, “We don’t have a target for new members. We feel that many people are excited, they are happy with what the governor has done for Edo State so they want to join the party the governor is in. We are the ruling party, the party you have to beat in Edo State, which gives us some edge so you expect many people to gravitate towards success.”
Publicity Secretary of the state LP, Sam Uroupa also said that the high number is a good one, noting that his party is the only one that can bring succour to citizens of the state.
He said, “The high number of aspirants in our party is a good one. When people are fed up with what they have been experiencing, they seek something new and fulfilling. It is only mad people that do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. The Edo people are fed up with insecurity, decaying infrastructure, and economic downturn brought about by the misrule of PDP and APC in the state over the years.
“So the LP seems to be the only party that can reverse this ugly trend. Our logo depicts the family and when the family is taken care of, then the larger society will benefit. So the aspirants see the LP as a place where their plans for Edo State can come to light hence the high number of aspirants.
“There will be no confusion in getting a suitable aspirant as we are going to provide a level playing ground. Confusion can only erupt when the process of selecting a candidate is not transparent. We are going to carry out a primary election that is devoid of rancour. The party will set up a screening committee that will look at those who are qualified to take part in the primaries. They are all aspirant for now as the purchase of forms, meeting, and all other criteria will also determine those ready to contest,” he added.
The APC publicity secretary, Peter Uwadiae, noted that the level playing ground the party has was pulling aspirants towards it.
He said, “I believe the level playing ground our party provides is the reason there are so many aspirants in the race. By the time we come out with guidelines, the serious contenders will emerge. It has also been made clear that there is no zoning. So members who feel they have the requisite capacity and credentials to lead Edo are indicating their interest.
“The reason we also have so many aspirants is because the party has become attractive in Edo. It is the belief that anyone who picks the ticket will eventually become the governor after the polls because of what transpired in recent elections.
“The APC has put a machinery in place for a smooth primary election. We have assured all intending aspirants who buy the governorship form that due process will be followed in electing the party’s standard bearer. What I am saying in essence is that Edo people should not be worried about the high number of persons who are indicating interest. It shows that Edo people are becoming more politically aware which they will benefit from in the end,” he added.
Nigerian youths who are scamming unsuspecting people are enemies of the nation’s progress, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Friday.
The EFCC’s South-East Zonal Commander, Mr Aliyu Nuhu, stated this in Enugu while speaking on this year’s International Anti-Corruption celebration, which holds on Dec 9 every year.
He said such youths, popularly called ‘Yahoo Boys’, create a bad image of Nigeria both within and outside the country.
According to him, “We lay much emphasis on Yahoo Boy, the same way we check both public and private sectors. Some of them call their victims on the phone, claiming to be bank officials.
“They demand certain codes sent through phones, and when they get what they want, they empty their victims’ bank accounts. Some of their victims work day and night to save money, and suddenly, they are swindled.
“We fight such. Yahoo boys affect our integrity as Nigerians. You travel outside the country, and you are seen as fraudsters. We do everything to fight this scourge. There is no justification to resort to ‘yahoo yahoo’ because one has no job. We should stop thinking towards that perspective. Unemployment is no justification to scam. EFCC will continue to fight cybercrimes.”
He said complaints at EFCC attract no charges, adding that, “We provide our services free of charge. What we need is credible information. We carry out investigations and prosecute. Even when stolen funds are recovered, we don’t demand charges.”
International Anti-Corruption day is observed annually, on 9 December, since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003 to raise public awareness on anti-corruption.
The founder of a branch of Celestial Church of Christ in Lagos State, Aderemi Dabiri, has said the reason why he invited Fuji singer, Alabi Pasuma, and street-hop artiste, Portable, was to gain new converts.
The cleric made this known in a video where he was seen addressing a delegation of the church’s task force who visited his parish to have an audience with him.
The white garment church came under heavy criticism recently for inviting secular artistes to its praise night event.
While explaining the rationale behind the decision, Dabiri revealed that the choice of the two artistes was to attract deviants in the society.
According to him, the pattern of evangelism had worked for him over the years and also resulted in the growth of his church membership.
He said, “It is not our first time inviting guest artistes. We have been doing it without a problem and I can give you a series of instances. We cannot go where they sell palm wine or alcoholic drinks and ask them to accept Jesus Christ. If I don’t apply wisdom, they will hit a bottle on my head. That was why I thought of a way to bring them into the church.
“I also noticed that there are some notorious boys who cause trouble in the community, disturbing the authorities and engaging in cultism. I wondered how can we draw their attention so that they would have a change of heart. We have gone to places where they are and they ended up beating us. Most of the members of my church are new converts and it was through that pattern that I converted them.”
Dabiri, who criticised some gospel ministers for being disrespectful said he preferred to invite secular musicians.
“Some gospel ministers are rude. If you talk to some of them, they respond rudely, but the day I called Pasuma, he sounded respectful on the phone and also agreed with my stance,” he said.
Responding to the concerns raised by the task force team about the raging controversy caused by the development, Dabiri indicated that he had no plans to cancel the invitation.
However, he explained that he would reduce the excesses of the artistes at the event, especially Portable.
He said, “We will tell Portable not to dye his hair and he should not sing vulgar songs but to sing gospel music. We will also caution him not to dress inappropriately or climb the speakers.
“We will also warn him not to allow his boys to smoke here. We have invited close to 30 military personnel to man the event.”
The cleric also appealed to the Celestial Church worldwide to support his vision, as he would use his style of evangelism to make the church proud.
The Senate has taken a swipe at the Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS, saying it is disheartening to hear that dogs in the service of the Nigeria Correctional Service are better fed than any of the over 81,000 inmates in correctional centres across the country.
Speaking on Thursday in Abuja during the 2024 budget defence session with the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Interior, Chairman of the Committee and former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, APC, Edo North expressed surprise at the very ugly situation that the NCS has 900 dogs across its custodial centres and it spends N800 every day to feed them while N750 is spent on an inmate.
He wondered why “dogs are better fed than inmates in correctional centres, many of whom are awaiting trial.”
Oshiomhole who noted that this explained why some inmates, who are convicted on simple cases, leave prisons as hardened criminals because of the inhuman treatment meted out to them, adding ” with the high cost of living, we suspect that these inmates are not fed three times a day. It is not your fault, don’t try to be defensive. It is an appropriation issue,” he told the CG.”
Earlier, the Comptroller General of the Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa had told the Committee that the service spends N800 per day to feed each of the 900 dogs in the service while just N750 is allocated to feed each prisoner, majority of whom are awaiting trials, at N250 per meal.
Nababa who told the lawmakers that there are over N81,000 inmates across the custodial centres nationwide, with more than 53,000 of them awaiting trial, said that his Service spends N750 to feed an inmate per day, an amount he said was grossly inadequate, just as he said that they had proposed an upward review of N3,000 daily feeding cost for an inmate and the proposal had been submitted to the Minister of Interior.
Nababa said, “The total number of inmates in 2023 is 81,354 nationwide while 53, 352 are awaiting trial. We feed each inmate with N750 daily and they are fed 3 times daily (N250 for each square meal). We have 900 security dogs and to feed a dog each day is N800 daily.”
He also said that the correctional service has 900 dogs across its custodial centres, and that it spends N800 to feed each of them daily, just as he pleaded with the lawmakers to come to their aid as they have already requested an increase in the feeding amounts for the inmates.
“Nababa said, “We wrote a letter to the President to review 3,000 per day for each inmate. We want this committee to assist us in putting in words for us. The money is grossly inadequate. The budget for feeding each of them per day is N751 per day at N250 per meal, per inmate.
The CG explained that the feeding allowance per day would be reduced to N720 after the reduction of VAT and tax
Speaking further, Oshiomhole said that 53, 352 or more are not convicted yet, they are awaiting trial. They are not guilty of any offence known to law. They are innocent under our laws. For an innocent Nigerian who is being held in a correctional home N250 per meal is grossly inadequate. I wonder what you are feeding them with. They are obviously underfed.
Oshiomhole lamented that while the fault might not be that of the Correctional Service, it was heart-wrecking to know that the Nigerian government has been dehumanizing her citizens, adding, “The figures given here suggest that you have been dehumanizing Nigerians. If it was the policy of the Federal Government to appropriate more money to feed dogs than human beings, we must correct errors of the past.”
According to him, the government must scale up efforts to address unemployment as prisoners from other countries have made matters worse by taking up jobs meant for Nigerians, describing the situation as an inhumane act to inmates.
Oshiomhole who requested a breakdown of the number of inmates and security dogs they have at the moment and how they are fed on a daily basis, said, ” I would like to see a breakdown of how you feed these inmates, if you say you feed inmates three times a day with N250 each. How many dogs do you have and how much does it cost to feed them daily?”
Not happy with explanations by Nababa, Oshiomhole who emphasised that the committee will not be in a hurry to “rubber stamp” or approve any budget until they receive satisfactory answers, said, “Your name has been changed from prison to correctional, but you are dehumanising.
“It’s not just your fault because the government appropriates little money for you but it is either that you don’t feed these prisoners or you feed them only once and even at that, very miserable food.
“This is why they have completely emaciated and some can never live a decent life again even when they did not commit an offence. It is not correct to tell us that you feed prisoners a day with N750, how?
“You all know the prices of these food items in the market, so how can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a man in Nigeria awaiting trial or even committed an offence with N750 a day, how much is a bottle of water,” he questioned.
“The Minister of Interior said yesterday that the NCS rather than being correctional is dehumanising. I am surprised that the 2024 budget is still based on old figures. I am surprised the CG cannot, based on the market forces, present before us, the realistic amount that could feed an innocent Nigerian who has not been pronounced guilty by any court of law. You mean the chart is so complicated that you will need to read a book to tell us?”
Oshiomhole who asked the NCS team how much it costs them to buy the quantity of the foodstuff and ingredients needed to prepare the meal of a prisoner, said, “This is a very important assignment. A lot of Nigerians under your care are innocent. They are in prisons, courtesy of big men and women who want to “teach them a lesson”
“Many of them are there on an offence they knew nothing about. However, the system has put them under your care.
“Somebody said if Mandela was in a Nigerian prison for 27 years, he would have lost his sanity by the time he was released to govern South Africa. Our prisons are meant to correct the behaviours of the people. They are not condemnation centres. They are not to dehumanised.”
In her contribution, Senator Ireti Kingibe, LP, FCT who was not satisfied with Nababa ‘s response, questioned the welfare of the inmates, asking, “How many doctors and veterinary doctors do you have taking care of these inmates and dogs,”
Prior to answering this query, Nababa and his team were seen chatting amongst themselves before they could answer the question, giving the impression that they were lacking the necessary information.
Minutes later, Nababa responded, saying, “We have 75 Medical doctors and consultants, 6 veterinary doctors who cover Lagos, Kaduna, Owerri and some of them cover more than one state and they move from place to place. The veterinary doctors have different nurses under them.”
Other Lawmakers present at the joint sitting were; Rep. Adebayo Balogun, APC, Lagos); Francis Fadahunsi, PDP, Osun East), Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, PDP, Kebbi North; Ezenwa Onyewuchi, LP, Imo East); Ireti Kingibe, LP, FCT, Abdulaziz Yari, APC, Zamfara West, amongst others.
How Minister Caught Immigration Officer Watching BBNaija While Keeping Foreigners On Queue At AirportWritten by Admin
The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Wednesday, revealed how he caught an officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) watching Big Brother Naija reality TV show instead of screening foreign passengers at an undisclosed airport.
Tunji-Ojo stated this during an interview monitored by THE WHISTLER on Human Rights Radio, popularly known as ‘Brekete Family’
According to the minister, he caught the officer while he was arriving in the country from a foreign trip. The unnamed officer was said to be watching the reality TV show instead of attending to passengers seeking visa on arrival to the country.
Tunji-Ojo said there was a need for better service and efficiency in NIS operations, especially in dealing with foreign visitors who are capable of bringing economic benefits to the country.
He called for collaboration among stakeholders to improve the image of the country in the international community, admitting that it is difficult for one individual to bring the desired change.
“Anybody that’s entering Nigeria, the way our people will talk to you is no longer like before. Just two weeks ago I came in from Italy, and as I was coming out, they came and welcomed me and wanted to carry my bag but I said no.
“I told them not to call their colleagues and that they should return to their duty post where they call for a visa on arrival. The plan that President Tinubu has, if all of us join hands, this country will be better.
“One person cannot bring change, all of us must change Nigeria. So, when I got there to see what they’re doing, because they didn’t know I was coming, I saw people waiting in the queue, people that wanted to collect visas, and foreigners that wanted to enter Nigeria were not being attended to.
“I walked to the place because I appeared casual and I didn’t go with any convoy escorts. When I got there, I looked at the computer, the officer was supposed to give people visas, what I saw was Big Brother Naija. Immediately, I told the officer to leave, since you like the air conditioner at the airport, they will redeploy you to another place.
“I know what the president tasked the ministers with. He said we must be briefing him on everything we are doing and how we achieve them because he wants the country to be better. How do you explain keeping foreigners that brought money to spend in our country? You kept them waiting while you watched BBNaija with the computer the government bought for you to do its work.”
Speaking further, the Minister revealed that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has cleared additional 52,000 passport backlog within one week
“All pending passports within three weeks were cleared on October 2nd. However, there was a new backlog of 52,000 due to increased applications by Nigerians. Fortunately, this backlog was cleared within a week. It’s expected that the backlog will be under 10,000 within the last week, and the system will be fully stabilized, ensuring passport processing within two weeks at most.”
The minister further said that the present government is committed to protecting Nigerians’ rights.
“This particular government cares about you and will protect your rights, nobody should treat Nigerians’ rights as a privilege,” he said