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BREAKING: Tribunal Declares Ademola Adeleke Of PDP Winner Of Osun Guber Poll |RN

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Racist Chinese Restaurant: Lagos Gov’t Defends As More Victims Speak Up |RN

                                                     Shi Shi Chinese restaurant

 

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, cleared the Chinese restaurant accused by some Nigerians of racism, even as yet another Nigerian, who was barred from entering the restaurant, spoke to The PUNCH.

The Lagos State Government’s position, made known via a Press statement issued by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde, said that findings by its officers sent to “investigate the veracity of the claim” showed that the allegations were false.

“The two officers who went there on Monday did so incognito, and found the allegations to be false.

“The officers were served without any questions or discrimination. They also took photographs without being noticed.

“Our officers also observed that the restaurant had a number of Nigerians working inside there and did similarly observe that pepper soup, a Nigerian delicacy, is also on the menu.

“More importantly, the restaurant has been registered with the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture since 2016, as required by law.”

The ministry which regulates eateries, restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality facilities in Lagos promised to conduct further investigations.

However, findings by our newspaper, which is standing by its report, showed that the restaurant relaxed its obnoxious racist policy after the initial outrage on social media on Sunday.

After our report on Monday, the restaurant threw open its doors to the public.

One of the workers of the company who spoke to our reporter after he was turned back, had admitted that the restaurant took notice of the outrage on social media on Sunday.

A director of the company, Niyi Adegbite, who spoke to our Correspondent on Monday, also refuted the allegations of discrimination but added that the restaurant had two sections: One of the sections is open to the general public, while the other is strictly for Chinese.

According to Adegbite, “The restaurant is divided into two sections. There is one open to the public and there is one called Hot Pot.

“The Hot Pot is where you enter and cook on your own. All the ingredients are made available. But it’s only for Chinese nationals.

“Maybe it’s this one that some people tried entering and were disallowed and is now causing the outcry.”

Joshua Jenom Gidin, who said he was denied entry along with five of his friends last Saturday, said it all seemed like a joke at first when he was told that Blacks would not be let in.

Gidin, who is a journalist with Pulse TV in Lagos, said, “When we got to the gate, we saw some pretty Chinese girls going inside and we even laughed with them.

“When we attempted to go in, they refused to allow us in because we were Black.

“I first thought it was a joke, but when the guards repeated it almost five times, I knew they were serious.

“In order not to cause a scene, we left the place; but I made sure that I scored them low on Google reviews and let the whole world know that they are racists.

“I am sure it was after the negative reviews online and the condemnation on social media that they quickly decided to change their racist policy.”

Obianuju Uba, whose experience was published in one of our earlier reports, found it strange that the government could rush to defend the restaurant.

Uba said, “We know what we witnessed. The government cannot tell us otherwise. Why would I be making spurious allegations against a restaurant?

“If the guards had told us that the restaurant was a members-only establishment, we would have understood and left. But we were told that we would not be allowed in because we are Black. That is truly what happened.

“So, I was confused because I had never experienced such in my life.

“I was shocked that a Nigerian — and not a Chinese — was used as the security guard. The guard even spoke with a Yoruba accent, so I was sure that he was a Nigerian.

“I was pissed off and left, and I walked away while my friends continued to argue with him.”

Blessing Ukeje, a computer programmer who was part of a group that was turned back on Saturday, reiterated that she had visited the restaurant along with four other friends around 8pm on Saturday and that they were turned back because they were Africans.

Ukeje said, “When we were about to enter, a guard asked what we came for and we responded that we were there for Karaoke.

“He told us that they didn’t have a Karaoke bar, but his colleague said they have, and that anyone who wants to enter must enter with Chinese people.

“He said Blacks are not allowed. He said the Blacks that come must come with Chinese people.

“We were all shocked because, even when we travel, we never see such.

“So, I asked him again if he was sure and he said that was the management policy.

“I actually thought I was dreaming. I asked him if he was okay with it as a Black man and he said nothing.

“While we were standing there, we saw Chinese people going in. Two Chinese ladies and two Chinese guys went in. It was after our experience that we decided to expose these people.”

When asked if she was denied entry because of the way they were dressed, Ukeje said, “I was coming from a wedding and I was well dressed. Those people had no excuse for turning us back.

Also speaking with The PUNCH, Akpan Aniefiok, who was barred from entering the restaurant along with his friends, lambasted the state government for defending the restaurant.

Aniefiok, who is a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said he and his friends visited many fun spots on the same day without issue.

He said they had no reason to tell lies or unjustly malign anyone’s business.

The final year student said, “We visited three lounges on that fateful day. Why would we unjustly tell lies against the Chinese restaurant? What do we stand to benefit from such?

“What happened on that day was that the security guard told us that we would not be allowed inside because we are Black and that he was following orders.”  (Punch)

 

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My Asset Declaration Forms Tempered With – Onnoghen Tells Tribunal |RN

Onnoghen-Danladi1

Godwin Tsa, Abuja

 

The suspended Chief of Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen has told the Code of Conduct Tribunal that his assets declaration forms before the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) appeared to have been tampered with.

He made the observation after his assets declaration forms were tendered and admitted ‎in evidence by the tribunal.

The Federal government opened its case on Monday 18.  Onnoghen returned for his trial after 72-hour bed rest.

A medical report tendered by his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), before the tribunal at the last adjourned date indicated that Onnoghen was suffering from toothache and high blood pressure and was advised by his doctor to observe a bed rest for 72 hours.

The tribunal led by its chairman, Danladi Umar, had then adjourned till Monday (today) for the commencement of trial.

When the matter came up, the Federal government opened its case by calling on its first witness, ‎Mr. James Akpala.

The prosecution was led by Aliyu Umar (SAN), who invited Akpala, Senior Investigation Officer of the Code of Conduct Bureau into the witness box.

In the course of his testimony, Akpala ‎tendered some documentary exhibits which were admitted as evidence.

The exhibits tendered by the witness were the petition written by a civil society group which informed the six counts preferred against the suspended CJN and two assets declaration forms (Forms CCB1) submitted by the defendant in 2014 and 2015.

‎The petition dated January 7, 2019, was sent to the Code of Bureau by Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative and was admitted by the three-man bench of the CCT as Exhibit 1 without any objection from the defence.

Although Onnoghen’s counsel, Awomolo did not object to the assets declaration forms, he noted that the forms were “in loose form and appeared to be tampered with,” adding that he would address the issues at the final stage.

In his ruling, the tribunal chairman, Umar, admitted the forms as exhibits with a caveat that the defence would have the right to address the issue in their final address.

Akpala had told the tribunal that “on January 9, 2019, I was in my office at the Code of Conduct Bureau that morning when I received a call from my superior, Samuel Madojemu, who happens to be a member of the (investigation) team.

“He directed that I investigate a petition.

“Having done the required processes – routine investigation – case file was opened and investigation plan was drawn.

“The petition was authored by Chief Dennis Aghanya of the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative, alleging breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers, including non-declaration of assets and false declaration of assets, against the Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“Thereafter, the team ‎wrote to the Federal Political Officers Unit (of the bureau), Asokoro, requesting the defendant’s asset declarations received from 2000 to 2009.

“The department responded. The two asset declaration forms were examined and filed in the case file.”   (The Sun)

 

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Another Building Collapses In Lagos, Many Feared Trapped|The Republican News

 

Tessy Igomu

Many were trapped as another building collapsed on Egerton Street, Oke-Arin, Lagos Island today, Monday, March 18, 2019.

The incident happened barely one week after a three-storey building collapsed on Massey Street, in the Ita-Faji area of Lagos Island, killing 20 people and injuring 40, including school children.

The ill-fated building is located on No. 57, Egerton Street, with many occupants, reportedly trapped.

According to reports, the collapsed structure had been marked for demolition by the Lagos State government.

Information emerging from the scene of the collapsed building revealed that officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), were demolishing a structure, which was among those earmarked for demolition, when a building beside it partially collapsed, injuring four occupants. The affected persons were said to have been rushed to the hospital for treatment.  (The Sun)

 

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Alleged N17b Withdrawal: You Don’t Have Capacity To Lead Imo, Okorocha Tells Ihedioha

Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

 

Governor Rochas Okorocha has replied to the recent allegation by the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, that N17 billion had already been withdrawn from the state treasury by the governor. He described the allegation as unfounded, maintaining that Ihediaoha lacks the capacity to govern the state.

Ihedioha has earlier warned financial institutions in the state against further transactions with the state government while also vowing to recover all properties acquired illegally by Governor Okorocha.

But Okorocha while admitting Ihedioha’s “political smartness” said “he does not have the mental or intellectual capacity to govern a highly-endowed state like Imo. The guy is just smart politically. And political smartness is different from having the capacity for leadership or governance.”

Governor Okorocha who was reacting through a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, noted that Ihedioha was only showing signs of early failure by his utterances.

While explaining that the state does not have such amount of money accruing to it through its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and Federal allocation, he challenged Ihedioha to mention how the withdrawal was made whether it was withdrawn by cash or through transfer.

Governor Okorocha further stated “he should also know that with what Governor Okorocha has achieved, Imo people won’t entertain any excuse from him. If he likes let him talk about Rochas Okorocha from now till when he will leave as governor. The die is cast. Action speaks louder than words. Blackmail or propaganda which the PDP invested heavily in during the 12 years they governed the state has become old-fashioned in the state at the moment.”   (The Sun)

 

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INEC Lacks Power To Withhold My Certificate Of Return – Okorocha |RN

        Rochas-Okorocha                                            Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

Chidiebube Okeoma and Gibson Achonu

 

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Wednesday said the Independent National Electoral Commission lacked power to withhold his certificate of return as the senator-elect for the Imo West.

He described the electoral body’s decision to withhold his certificate as part of efforts aimed at making him irrelevant ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Okorocha said this at the Government House, Owerri on while addressing some youths who paid him a solidarity visit.

He said only a court had the power to nullify any election after a winner had been declared.

He denied the allegation that INEC’s returning officer declared him winner of the senatorial election under duress, describing the allegation as an insult.

Okorocha said, “My certificate of return has not been issued and I wonder why INEC will withhold my certificate for a frivolous reason, without hearing from me.

“I am not a violent person and those who know me know that. This is why we have peace in Imo State.

“The returning officer could not have done that under duress under the watchful eyes of the police, the DSS (the Department of State Services) and party agents.

“I am not unmindful of the facts that those who are fighting me from Abuja are anxious to see me removed as a senator. I urge INEC to do the right thing immediately by releasing my certificate.”

The governor said he was not fighting anybody and those who were fighting him would fail.

He added, “My INEC certificate cannot be touched or seized. Doing so is belittling democracy in Nigeria.

“It is only the tribunal that has the right to say otherwise once a result is declared.

“INEC cannot seize my certificate because of a mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story.”

Okorocha also described the governorship and state house of assembly elections in the state as “a sham and a mockery of democracy.”

He said he had lost confidence in the nation’s democracy.

He accused INEC of complicity in the conduct of the polls.

He insisted that the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, won the governorship election and had the required spread of 25 per cent in 21 out of the 27 local governments in the state.

The governor said, “It is obvious that INEC in Imo State is not guaranteeing us free, fair and credible elections.

“Uche Nwosu, the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance actually won the election, but INEC criminally disbanded electoral officers of the commission and introduced people from Abia College of Agriculture who arrived the state midnight.

“They brought people they had been training for weeks in Anambra before the elections.”  (Punch)

 

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Take Over Operation Of OML 11 From Shell, Buhari Orders NNPC |RN

Buhari-on-microphone                                                     President Muhammadu Buhari

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to take over the operatorship of the entire Oil Mining Lease 11 from Shell Petroleum Development Company.

According to a letter from State House, Abuja,  to the Group Managing Director of NNPC, dated March 1, 2019, with reference number SH/COS/24/A/8540 and signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the President’s directive was clearly stated that the entire operatorship of OML 11 should be taken over by the NNPC/Nigeria Petroleum Development Company not later than April 30, 2019.

NPDC is the flagship oil exploration and production subsidiary of the NNPC and the liaison office of the company acknowledged receipt of the letter on March 5, 2019.

The letter from the Presidency to the NNPC, which had its title as, ‘Operatorship of Entire Oil Mining Lease 11,’ read in part, “Kindly note that the President has directed NNPC/NPDC to take over the operatorship, from Shell Petroleum Development Company, of the entire OML 11 not later than 30 April 2019, and ensure smooth re-entry given the delicate situation in Ogoniland.”

It added that the President has “directed NNPC/NPDC to confirm by 2 May 2019, of the assumption of the operatorship.”

OML 11 lies in the southeastern Niger Delta and contains 33 oil and gas fields of which eight are producing as per 2017. In terms of production, it is one of the most important blocks in Nigeria.

The terrain is swampy to the south with numerous rivers and creeks. Port Harcourt is located in the northwest of the block, while the major yard and logistics base at Onne is located by the Bonny River. The Bonny oil terminal – the largest in Nigeria – and Nigeria LNG (NLNG) are both located at Bonny.

When contacted, the Media Relations Manager, Shell Nigeria, Bamidele Odugbesan, declined to comment on the matter, as he specifically told our correspondent that he would not speak on the issue.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, also did not answer his telephone when contacted and had yet to respond to a text message on the matter up till the time of filing this report.

It was, however, gathered from sources at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Abuja that there were four partners in the OML 11 joint venture.

“If you are talking about that operatorship, you are talking about a joint venture where you have four partners and you can pick any of the partners to run the asset on behalf of others. And whoever runs the asset will account to the partners when it comes to the sharing table,” a source at the FMPR said.

The source added, “So if you look at some deep water projects or if you look at the OPL 245, that is Zabazaba for instance, it is operated by Agip but Shell has 50 per cent stake in it. So if tomorrow Agip says it does not want to operate the asset anymore and asks Shell to come and operate it, that won’t change anything. Rather it is only the operatorship that will change.”

It was also gathered that the NNPC owns 55 per cent shares in the OML 11 partnership, while Shell, Total and Agip own 30, 15 and five per cent respectively in the joint venture.

Officials at the FMPR stated that the operatorship of the asset, based on the latest directive of the President, had moved from Shell to NPDC, the flagship oil exploration and production subsidiary of the NNPC.

Industry players further explained that whoever operated an OML on behalf of partners would bring in its expertise and that the NPDC had such capacity right now.

They noted that what was transferred to NNPC, based on Buhari’s order, was basically the operatorship of the OML and not the shares of the partners in the joint venture.

Our correspondent further gathered that Shell had not produced a drop of crude oil from Ogoniland for about five years and that partners were not earning revenue as a result of this.

“So if another partner is willing to run the asset, I think he should be allowed to try. Four persons own an asset and it is being run by owner number one and owner number one is not able to run the asset for several years, you can try owner number two. That’s what is happening,” another source said.  (Punch)

 

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