This Week #InTheNews – Home & Away (22.11.13 – 28.11.13) by @kathyesan

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Its another eye catching episode of your go to source for reliable, informative news that occurred in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.

On Tuesday, a Makurdi high court sentenced a 100-level sociology student of Benue State University, Jacob Atongo to death by hanging for armed robbery. The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Justice Adam Onum held that he was satisfied with the confession of the accused to the charges and therefore found him guilty.
Onum sentenced the accused to death by hanging, insisting that the sentence prescribed under the law for the offense must be followed.

Atongo had allegedly conspired with two others to rob one Stephen Akuma of his Toyota Camry, and had also robbed  others at gun point on June 26, 2012.He also allegedly attacked Judges’ Quarters, Makurdi on July 3, 2012 and robbed no fewer than 15 people.The offenses contravened the Robbery and Firearms Laws.The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified for himself along with one witness called by his counsel.

Prosecution called seven witnesses and tendered  exhibits, which included two statements made by the convict to the police, but counsel to the accused, Mr. E.Z. Agbakor, told the court that the accused did not make the statement tendered in court voluntarily, insisting his client was tortured and forced to confess to the offenses.

A 45-year-old plantain farmer, Lawrence Adedapo, was arrested by the police in Ekiti State for allegedly raping a 75-year-old woman, Grace Asaolu.The incident was said to have occurred on November 7 at Ogbese Camp, Ise Ekiti in Ise-Orun Local Government Area of the state.It was learnt that Adedapo invited his victim into his room to collect plantain, which he brought for her from his farm, and reportedly overpowered her and had carnal knowledge of her. The suspect confirmed that he had carnal knowledge of the woman, but denied raping her.

He claimed that Asaolu was his mistress, saying, he had known her a long time ago and knew her as a widow from Moba Local Government Area. He stated they had known each other for the past 35 years and had been dating her for long.  He also said the last time he had sex with her was in April during Easter before meeting her again on November 7, and that was the second time they met this year. Claiming he did not rape her, that he had her consent before doing it.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Mr. Victor Babayemi, said, “In the course of investigation, facts emerged that the suspect knew the victim to be of old age, 75 and in menopause. “She could not have been bleeding without somebody  tampering with her organ and medical report shows that there was a violent sexual assault on her”. She was also said to be distressed with her genital smeared with fresh blood.

The Ogun State Director of the NOA, Mr. Sola Babalola, said during a visit to the Chairman of Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State, Tajudeen Ayilara that the National Orientation Agency would henceforth prosecute public or private organizations flying tattered Nigerian flags. Babalola, in a statement by the Chief Orientation and Mobilization Officer in the local government, Mr. Soji Amosun, said the NOA would ensure that any organization or person hoisting irregular or tattered Nigerian flags would face the wrath of the law. He also stressed that the era when national symbols were treated with disrespect had gone for the one that they would be cherished as the pride of the nation.

The NOA state director, who promised to do his best at ensuring that national symbols regained their lost glory, urged the chief executives of various organizations to ensure that the normal Nigerian flags were flown on their premises and offices. He said, “The only agency of government that is saddled with the sale and distribution of the normal flag is the National Orientation Agency. Those hoisting irregular flags will be made to face the wrath of the law. The flag is a one-way industrial format, not sown or joined together because Nigeria is not a disjointed nation.”
Babalola also said that NOA would soon begin to enforce the hoisting of the Nigerian flag on public premises and government establishments in Ogun. He also stated that the Federal Government had adopted the second stanza of the National Anthem as the accepted prayer at any government function as advocated by NOA and enjoined all government officials to adhere to his response, Ayilara commended NOA for its campaigns aimed at positively transforming Nigeria, and to do his best to ensure that the people of his council heed the campaigns of the agency.

A 25-year-old man, Toheeb Jimoh, on Saturday evening at Aiyedun Street, Bariga drowned in a Lagos river while reportedly swimming to win a bet.He had allegedly bragged that he could swim the Lagos Lagoon from a particular point to the shore on Saturday evening. it was learnt that when some people challenged his claim, he had allegedly dared them to place a bet. After the bet was placed, he reportedly went on a boat to the point and jumped into the lagoon hoping to swim to the shore. The incident,  was said to have caused commotion among residents who trooped to the site, hoping to save Jimoh. The corpse of Jimoh was said to have been recovered around 7pm same day and buried beside the water around 12am in line with the traditions. According to a punch correspondent, the late Abeokuta, Ogun State indigene, had only recently gained admission into the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta before the tragedy struck.

A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “He and some of his friends were actually fond of betting and gambling. So that evening, they decided to take the betting to another level. Toheeb told them he could swim from the Third Mainland Bridge end of the river to the shore, “When the boat they took got to that point, which was a little close to the shore, he gave his clothes to his brother and jumped into the water, when his friends who were in the boat waited for him at the shore without success. After it dawned on them that something was amiss, his younger brother raised the alarm. By the time people got to the scene, he had died.”

When PUNCH Metro visited the site where the incident took place, he observed that the scene was directly under the third mainland bridge. A resident on the street,where the Jimohs lived Tiamiyu Abdullateef told punch metro that the  deceased was highly pious. He said the deceased merely went to the lagoon to defecate after he became pressed, then decided to swim and wash his body,and while swimming back, he just lost breath, and was exhausted and drowned. At Bariga Police Station, a senior official said that the police heard about the case informally. The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak for the police, said the case wasn’t reported so there was nothing that could be done.  The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braithe, said she was in a conference and promised to call back.

The visa and immigration services of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) might become costlier.The UKBA is currently holding talks with partners to discuss the possible change in pricing system. Nothing has been determined so far. Having invited partners on the discussion table, the UKBA is reviewing the current pricing system from several angles, with discussion topics such as fee levels, legislation, refunds and administration funds, and premium and optional services.

Mark Harper, minister of immigration said “People who need permission to visit the UK and those who want to live, work or study here must pay a fee for their visa. It is important that we seek input into how we ensure that those who benefit directly from the immigration system and enhanced border control contribute appropriately to its costs in the future, and we will be seeking views from stakeholders who have an interest in the way fees are set, the consistency and complexity of fees and on premium services. We are also seeking views on proposals on administrative reviews and refunds and how the Home Office interacts with third parties”.

The talks commenced on November 12 and were said to take place for three weeks.A new fee structure was last implemented on April 6 this year, when most of the visa and immigration services became more expensive. A short stay visit visa –previously (GBP) £ 78- is now £80 (Dh475). A two year visa increased in price from £270 to £278 (Dh1650), while the cost of a transit visa went from £52 to £54 (Dh320).

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, barred government officials from participating in the burial programmes of its former president, Festus Iyayi.The union also demanded that an  autopsy be performed on the corpse of Iyayi, to determine the actual cause of death. The autopsy demand followed controversy over the actual cause of the death of the late ASUU activist.

A statement issued by the UNIBEN ASUU chapter, stated that: “Professor Festus Iyayi did not just die in an accident but that he was willfully murdered by the state and its agents.”The union added that at the appropriate time, ASUU and Prof. Iyayi’s family would demand concrete answers from the state for his murder.

The statement which was signed by the union’s chairman and secretary, Dr. Anthony Monye-Emina and Okeri Henry, respectively, said “it was aware that there were deliberate steps being taken by the state and its agents to distort the facts of the ‘accident’ as it happened, which started with the reckless and irresponsible press statement that was issued by the Kogi State Government to try to explain away the killing of Professor Iyayi, and further attempts to conceal and distort available evidence. We shall of course meet them with the facts,” the statement said.

The union while barring government officials from Iyayi’s burial arrangements, said it and Iyayi’s family were capable of giving the late professor a befitting burial he deserves. It also assured that Governor Idris Wada and those responsible for the accident that claimed the life of Iyayi would be made to face trial.Commenting on ASUU’s statement, a spokesman for the Iyayi family, Prof. Robert Ebewele, explained that the issue of autopsy was ASUU’s affair and that the family would go on with burial plans for Iyayi earlier slated for the first week of December.

*625m bribe: Lawan, Emenalo’s trial begins March 12
An FCT High Court on Wednesday fixed March 12, 2014 for the trial of Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo over alleged 620,000 dollars bribe (about N625 million). Lawan is standing trial alongside his Vice Chairman, Emenalo, on a seven-count charge of allegedly obtaining N625 million bribe from Femi Otedola, the Chairman of Zenon Petroleum. It will be recalled that at the last sitting, Justice Oniyangi refused to grant Lawan’s application for stay of proceedings.

The two counsel also agreed on the date following the absence of Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, who was not in court, because he was at the Nigeria Law School, Bwari, where he represented the Chief Judge of the FCT at the 50th anniversary of the school.Counsel to Emenalo, Mr Mike Ozeakhome (SAN) and prosecutor Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), both agreed on the date.

It will be recalled that at the last sitting, Justice Oniyangi refused to grant Lawan’s application for stay of proceedings. Oniyangi also refused to grant the application by Lawan to adjourn the case indefinitely pending the determination  of an appeal before Appeal Court in Abuja.

A staff of MTN, Afisi Ayomide, has been arrested and arraigned before the Lagos Magistrates’ Court sitting at Cele, Ijeshatedo for allegedly defrauding more than 65 job seekers in Lagos, western Nigeria. He was alleged to have collected N78,000 each from the job seekers as fees for registration form, identity card and employment form. Ayomide who was employed as a computer operator with the telecommunications giant, was still under probation and posted to the Surulere branch of the company when he committed the offense.  The accused, an OND graduate of Accounting of the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State did his IT at the company and was employed as a computer operator.

The police in their report said he perfected the plan to dupe the innocent job seekers by employing an agent who collected millions of Naira from the desperate job seekers.  Though the total amount he allegedly collected from the victims has not been ascertained by the police, sources said it is in millions. In his statement to the police, Ayomide said he learnt the company wanted to employ workers at their two branches at Fatai Atere Way, Mushin and Surulere areas, and he decided to engage the victims.He later asked his victims to resume work at the branches but the job seekers were rejected.

The police accused him of printing registration forms and MTN identity card he gave to his victims after paying N78, 000. The matter was reported to the police at Area ‘D’ Mushin and Ayomide was arrested and charged to court.  When he was arraigned, he pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and illegally printing MTN identity cards.

The presiding magistrate, Mrs. O A Gbajumo granted him bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum.The police accused him of printing registration forms and MTN identity card he gave to his victims after paying N78, 000.

Now to the foreign scene……..

Police are blaming dissident republican terrorists for a 60kg (132lbs) car bomb that partially exploded outside a shopping centre in Belfast, Sky news reported. Masked men in boiler suits hijacked a car in the north of the city at 9.30pm on Sunday and ordered the driver to take the bomb to the Victoria Square centre, the PSNI said.The device – made of homemade explosives packed into a beer keg – was left at a car park entrance and detonated at 11.15pm as army bomb disposal experts prepared to examine it.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes before the explosion near one of Belfast’s main police stations and the city’s court complex.The security alert ended without any reports of injuries and the city centre has reopened, although Monday morning commuters faced traffic delays.PSNI Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum told BBC Radio Ulster the bomb could have been “catastrophic” for the city.

The silver Renault Laguna car used in the attack, registration number CJZ 4697 car, was hijacked in Jamaica Street, in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.

Victoria Street and Chichester Street were closed during the alert and people were evacuated from their homes and a nearby cinema, with dozens spending the night in the Ulster Hall concert venue.

On Wednesday, a construction accident at the site of the Brazilian stadium that will host the opening match of the World Cup killed two workers, Sao Paulo fire officials stated .The Arena Corinthians is one of the venues that will host World Cup matches in 2014.

Officials initially said there were three victims, but the fire department amended the death toll on its Twitter account.

A crane was hoisting a part of the metal roof when it collapsed, causing the piece to fall, partially damaging the building, according to a statement released by the construction company, Odebrecht Infrastructure. Officials initially said there were three victims, but the fire department amended the death toll on its Twitter account. The company said It was a procedure that had been carried out many times at the construction site without incident, including the installation a week ago of a piece of roof of the same proportions.
The construction company identified the victims as Fabio Luiz Pereira, 42, and Ronaldo Oliveira Dos Santos, 44.

On Wednesday, Italy’s parliament expelled Silvio Berlusconi over a tax fraud conviction in a humiliating vote that will not be the last act of the billionaire tycoon’s tumultuous career as he vowed to “fight on”. The three-time former prime minister told thousands of supporters outside his residence in Rome that he would stay on in politics despite the vote, saying it was “a day of bitterness, a day of mourning for democracy”.

In a defiant speech, Berlusconi said “We are not going to retire to some convent,” as fellow senators held rounds of voting that forced him from parliament for the first time in his 20-year political career. Motions put forward by Berlusconi’s allies in the Senate in an attempt to block the expulsion procedure were rejected one by one in a dramatic session in which dozens of lawmakers took the floor to support him.

Senate speaker Pietro Grasso said the failure of the motions meant that a proposal “abolishing the election of senator Silvio Berlusconi” was considered approved. Berlusconi is now banned from taking part in a general election for six years and has lost parliamentary immunity, which offers safeguards against arrest. Experts said the expulsion marks another step in Berlusconi’s slow-motion demise, although he will continue to wield major clout even as an ex-lawmaker.

Rumours are also rife in Rome that an arrest could be imminent although Berlusconi’s lawyers have dismissed the prospect as “absurd” given that he has already had to give up his passport and is not a flight risk.  At the pro-Berlusconi rally, however, supporters including his girlfriend Francesca Pascale belted his campaign anthem “Thank God Silvio’s Here!” and held up placards saying the expulsion was “a coup d’etat”. Several polls show that the 77-year-old’s popularity is undimmed among core supporters and a centre-right coalition led by him as figurehead could win elections.

His daughter, Marina Berlusconi, who has denied persistent press rumours that she could  succeed him, said in a statement: “This country and this democracy should be ashamed of what my father is suffering.”

Latvia’s PM Valdis Dombrovskis has announced his resignation, and thereby the fall of his government over the deadly collapse of a Riga supermarket. BBC reported that he made the announcement at a meeting with President Andris Berzins which held for an hour and a half on Wednesday. dombrovskis told reporters that “Considering the tragedy and all related circumstances… a new government is needed that has the clear support of parliament” .
President Berzins was quoted by the agency as saying, “I call on all who look to the future to assess their responsibility and act accordingly.” The prime minister’s spokesman told Agence France-Presse news agency that “the government takes political responsibility for the tragedy”.

At least 54 people died when the Maxima supermarket collapsed last Thursday. Berzins earlier described the disaster as “murder” and called for foreign experts to investigate what had happened. The collapse was the biggest loss of life since Latvia became independent from the USSR in 1991.

Structural experts have suggested that the supermarket building itself may have been badly designed and so not able to support a garden that was being built on the roof.After analyzing photos, videos and eyewitness reports, one structural engineer suggested there had been numerous design flaws in the roof’s supporting beams – including not enough bolts.Substandard construction materials and corruption are other possible lines of inquiry.

Taking office in 2009, Dombrovskis was charged with making harsh budget cuts and tax increases as well as tough structural reforms to tackle the country’s economic crisis.He was twice reappointed, and is widely credited with preventing the small Baltic country from going bankrupt.

Police have opened a criminal investigation into the cause of the disaster.Among those killed, included two Russian citizens, were three firefighters.

BBC reported Police have unearthed a cannabis farm found hidden underground in a series of tunnels once used as a nuclear bunker during the Cold War, Hundreds of plants and growing equipment were found in the historic Drakelow Tunnels near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, in a raid. The Drakelow site was used to manufacture machine parts during the Second World War and later earmarked by the Home Office as a regional seat of government in the event of a nuclear attack. Police seized more than 400 plants and estimated the farm could have been worth around £650,000.

“While executing the warrant at Drakelow Tunnels we discovered a large and sophisticated cannabis growing operation,” said North Worcestershire Superintendent Kevin Purcell. A 45-year-old man was also arrested in a related raid on an address in Kidderminster, on suspicion of money laundering and being concerned in the production and supply of controlled drugs.

NOV 25 1947: Future Queen Elizabeth marries Prince Philip in Westminster Abbey
NOV 26 1952: 1st modern 3-D movie “Bwana Devil,” premieres in Hollywood
NOV 27 1983: Colombian jetliner Boeing 747 crashes in Madrid killing 185
NOV 28 1979: Air New Zealand DC-10 crashes into Mount Erebus on Antarctica kills 257.

This weeks news won’t be complete without mentioning the fact that a lot of notable personalities, musicians, actors were born, with the likes of Micheal Collins(Don Jazzy), Chukie Edozien(Lynxx), Yvonne Okoro, Olanrewaju Fasasi(Sound Sultan), Rita Ora, Tina Turner, Caroline Kennedy, Trey Songz. This is wishing them a leap in their respective careers and many more years.

Till next week, have a superb weekend/new week……..

Kathy Esan

Kathy Esan

AM demiurgic, efficacious, indefatigable.When am not seeking therapy for my xenuphobia (extreme fear of tom cruise) am busy curating the amazing James Patterson fan site. Analogue by birth, digital by design and......oh well out of words now.


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