The sacked All Progressives Congress deputy governor-elect in Bayelsa State, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, said on Thursday that he did not forge any of his certificates.
The embattled senator, who addressed journalists in Abuja, also asked the police to vet his credentials.
He lamented that the apex court judgment had left him greatly traumatised and in distress.
He said, “The aim of this press conference is to defend my reputation which the Justices of the Supreme Court, whether consciously or unconsciously, subjected to scurrilous scandal, assault and unfair imputation.
“Let me state that some of my primary school teachers are still alive: Chief Eredogiyo Watson, Chief Allen Obebe-Orukari and Susan Otiotio.
“Let me also state in clear and graphic terms that I attended two secondary schools.
“First, Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, Rivers State where some of my classmates were Harrison Braide, Tombo Douglas, Ferdinand Amabebe: Professor Owunari George Will, Justice Biobele Georgewill, Chief David Briggs and Alpheus Otta and some of my teachers were Mr Wamarte and Mrs Humbly, Mr Frank etc.
“All my academic certificates are in the public domain. Whether they are genuine or forged are verifiable matters.
“If these certificates exist and have not been altered in any manner, it would mean they are genuine. The next enquiry would then be if the names appearing thereon belong to me or belong to some other persons.
“If no other persons can be found who claim the names in the certificates then they are mine.
“Judges including justices of the Supreme Court are free to request law enforcement agencies to investigate persons who appear before them as to the commission or otherwise of crimes.”
“All the educational qualifications I presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission to aid my constitutional qualification were acquired by me personally from institutions here in Nigeria which are still in existence till date. The records are verifiable anytime and any day here in Nigeria.”
9mobile says it is investing $220m in the expansion of its 4G LTE to more Nigerian cities as part of efforts to deepen broadband penetration in the country.
The company at a press conference in Lagos on Thursday said it had added 10 new cities and towns across Nigeria to its 4G network and upgraded LTE services in existing six cities.
The Ag. Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet, explained that the investment had increased the number of cities and towns in Nigeria that now enjoy quality service with the mass deployment of 4G technology to 16.
According to him, the 4G LTE expansion drive will be implemented in Aba, Abuja, Nasarawa, Calabar, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Onitsha, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Uyo, Aba and Ogun.
He stated that the company planned to cover the entire country in the next five years.
Beuvelet identified the unique benefits available to customers with the 9mobile 4G LTE, including a low latency rate for high-speed connectivity and planned redundancy to minimise downtime impact.
He further assured of sustained investments into the network’s general infrastructure base to guarantee best-in-class experience for its customers.
British Airways has said it will compensate its passengers whose flights were diverted to Accra, Ghana due to the inclement weather in Lagos.
The General Manager, West Africa, British Airways, Mr Kola Olayinka, on Thursday, apologised to the affected passengers.
Olayinka said in a statement that the situation was as a result of delays and diversions of flights occasioned by the inclement weather that caused poor visibility at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos as well as a number of factors outside the airline’s immediate control.
He stated that the decision to delay or divert flights was made by the airline’s pilots who were trained to handle such situations in consideration of the safety and security of the passengers and crew.
He said, “We regret the frustrations experienced and the disruptions it would have had on earlier-planned engagements of our esteemed customers.
“We would also like to use this opportunity to encourage passengers to send receipts of expenses incurred during this period to our customer relations team on standby to process the reimbursements and also attend to queries.”
Olayinka stated that during the period, the airline ensured that its customers were accommodated in hotels where adequate rooms were available, meals, refreshments, and transport to and from the airports were provided for their movement at the different airports in Accra, Abuja, and Lagos.
He said, “Regrettably, in this unique case, most hotels were taken up by passengers of airlines that were earlier diverted to Abuja. The direct result was the inadequacy of accommodation.
“To resolve this, we booked all 157 available rooms and accommodated 157 passengers.
“We also ensured the safety of the remaining passengers by accommodating them in a dedicated area provided by Sheraton where we provided meals and drinks.”
According to Olayinka, the Accra incident was markedly unpredictable as the delay lingered for two days due to the persisting weather condition.
He explained that the airline chartered a Boeing 767 from Euro Atlantic to convey passengers from Accra to Lagos, adding that a number of passengers however opted to make personal arrangements for their return.
Nigerians should be prepared to pay cost-reflective electricity tariffs in order to enjoy the benefits of the liberalisation of the power sector, the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria has said.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, who said this on Thursday, noted that the government had continued to pump money into the power sector despite privatising it more than six years ago.
Mohammed spoke in Lagos during the groundbreaking for the replacement of old wires on the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Alausa-Ota transmission lines.
He said when completed, the project would allow Ikeja Electric to take the full capacity of all the transformers along the substations to be supplied by the lines.
He said, “We are working to transform the TCN to be one of the best transmission companies in the world. But I want to tell the Nigerian public that we cannot move forward if we don’t pay for electricity.
“I want to tell Nigerians that there is no relationship between poverty and payment for electricity.”
According to the TCN boss, Nigeria has the cheapest electricity tariff in West Africa.
He said the government had sunk N1.5tn into the power sector in terms of payment assurance guarantee for power generation.
Mohammed said, “We have to stop this government intervention and we can only stop it when contracts become effective. Contracts can only be effective when you have cost-reflective tariffs.”
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 for the 11 Discos, had said on January 4 that consumers would start to pay more for electricity from April 1, 2020.
Nigeria’s women long jumper, Ese Brume, set a new indoor personal best at the sixth World Indoor Tour in France on Wednesday.
Brume finished second among 10 contestants after a leap of 6.82m to set her new indoor personal best.
She has now surpassed her personal best at every meet this February as she builds up towards Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
She finished behind gold medallist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, who leapt 6.90m, while Natassia Mironchyk-Ivanova placed third with a jump of 6.59m.
The 24-year-old African junior record holder won bronze at last year’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
The Chinese government said on Thursday there was no Nigerian among the 29 foreign citizens in China with the coronavirus. Two of them were reported to have died.
China stated this on Thursday in its daily bulletin on coronavirus through its embassy in Abuja.
The statement read, “As of February 19, the National Health Commission had received 74,576 reports of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland, including 2,118 deaths and 16,155 patients cured and discharged from hospital. There still remained 4,922 suspected cases.
“So far, 126,363 are now under medical observation, who have been identified as having had close contacts with infected patients. Also, 29 foreign citizens in China have been infected. Among them, 18 had recovered and were discharged from hospital, two were dead and nine are still under quarantine and treatment. No Nigerians are infected.”
Reps ask FG to address Benue strange, deadly disease
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to respond to the “strange disease” killing people in communities in Benue State.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by Mr Samson Okwu, titled ‘Urgent Need to investigate and Arrest the Looming Outbreak of Epidemic – Deadly Disease – in Oye-Obi of Orihi Council Ward, Obi Local Government Area, Benue State.’
Okwu said the disease had killed no fewer than 35 persons.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, warned that the unnamed disease should not be allowed to spread beyond the current location.
The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, who presided over the session, said, “It calls for concerns; it is a serious matter.”
The House, adopting the motion, urged the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health, to send medical experts to Oye-Obi “to assess the situation with a view to arresting the ugly epidemic – deadly disease.”
Pogba’s future is a constant source of speculation at the moment, with nobody sure where he will end up in the summer.
United seem resigned to losing their star man, who has only played a handful of times this season due to injury.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed to confirm that Pogba would ever play for the club again while speaking over the weekend.
Real Madrid and Juventus are both believed to be keen on signing him during the summer window.
But with Juventus needing to sell players before they can finance a move, the door is open to the Spanish giants.
It was later reported that Madrid values him at just £50m, due to his lack of activity and his contract situation.
Pogba’s current contract runs until the summer of 2021, but United have the opportunity to extend it by another year if they choose to.
That would be a risky move, however, with the Frenchman seemingly unwilling to consider signing a new deal.
Having paid £89m for him back in 2016, they could now be preparing to take a huge loss on their former record signing, if they choose to accept Madrid’s valuation.
United seem resigned to losing him at the end of the season, so they can use the transfer funds received to reinvest in a squad rebuild.
Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has been in the news recently for his comments over the star’s future, claiming his client wants to leave.
In a furious Instagram post, Raiola claimed the player has the right to decide his own future.
“Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer’s property, Paul is Paul Pogba’s,” he wrote.
“You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I hope Solskjaer do not want to suggest that Paul is his prisoner.
“But before Solskjaer makes comments about things I say he should inform himself better about the content of what has been said.
“I am a free citizen who can think and express my thoughts. Until now I was maybe to nice to him. Solskjaer should just remember things that he said in the summer to Paul. ⠀
“I think Solskjaer may be frustrated for different reasons and is now mixing up some issues. I think that Solskjaer has other things to worry about. At least if I was him I would.”
The United States government has given the federal government conditions under which the recent visa policy affecting six countries, including Nigeria, could be reviewed. The US government maintained that once Nigeria improves her data intelligence, such that it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit the United States and meet information-sharing systems, the ban might likely be reviewed.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mary Beth Leonard, restated this yesterday when she paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, at the ministry’s headquarters, Abuja. Recall that the US recently announced that it was extending visa restrictions to six more countries, including Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Other countries are Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar. But people from those countries will still be able to visit the US as tourists. Mrs Leonard explained that the immigration policy does not affect people currently resident in the US. She said: “I think I need to clarify something for you here. The immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the US. It does not cancel the status of anyone currently in the US.
“What Secretary Pompey said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolvable and we look forward to Nigeria in a very short while being able to meet those information-sharing goals so that the decision can be reviewed.
“Students’ visas are not affected by the current visa ban”. On diversification policy, the US Ambassador to Nigeria said there was a need for Nigerians with skills to export them so that they will not be seen as illegal immigrants when they go abroad to work.
“I think for Nigeria, you have an interesting story about the diversification of your economy and the prosperity of your economy and its people. You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.
“You know you hear about much of the activity in the informal sector. So I wonder how you think about capturing that entrepreneurial spirit and bring it into the formal sector in service and to enhance employment. “I am happy you raised it, we talk to you on what we are doing about it. We are trying to make Nigerians have their skills so that we can even export those skills, so they will be formalized when they go out, they will not be illegal immigrants.
“We want to go out as formalized persons, whether they are carpenters, electricians, welders. So we have our schools here. We have skills acquisition centres and we are upgrading all of them so that the certificates that come out of our skills departments will be generally accepted. So we want to Internationalize it.
“We are upgrading so that they can even become entrepreneurs”. Ngige, while interacting with the Ambassador, said a total of 14,000 labour inspections had been done, out of which about 3,900 child labour defaulters were detected and empowered economically. He said some were encouraged to go to school or learn skills. The Minister said,
“We call on the US to help us build schools in those areas where child labour is endemic. You can also help in setting up clinics and empowerment programmes in those localities”. Ngige also spoke on the economic downturn, saying the country made a mistake depending on a single revenue source for decades.
An expanded meeting of the National Economic Council has opened in Abuja.
It is presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
It is the first NEC meeting this year and a key item on the agenda is said to be the N614billion budget facility the Federal Government gave to 35 of the 36 states.
State governors, as well as other stakeholders, are in attendance.
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, was among the earliest to arrive at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, venue of the meeting.
The Chairman of South-West Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, said the opening prayers.
Also present are Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Samuel Ortom of Benue; Simon Lalong of Plateau; Yahaya Bello of Kogi; Godwin Obaseki of Edo; Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa; and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
Others are Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna; Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom; Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State; and Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State.
Many other governors are represented.