Wednesday 31 October 2012

Kate Moss confesses to ‘nervous breakdown’ over sexy Calvin Klein photo shoot with Mark Wahlberg

Kate Moss (Mert Alas & Marcu Piggot/Vanity Fair)When Kate Moss landed the Calvin Klein ad campaign with Mark Wahlberg, it helped propel the then-teen to superstardom in the modeling world. The black-and-white photos, snapped in 1992, featured the two stars pressed up against one another with Wahlberg's muscular arms (and abs!) a stark contrast to Moss' frail frame. While the images have become an iconic representation of the era, and launched the "heroin chic" look of skinny models with dark circles under their eyes, Moss has regrets about participating in the shoot, saying it caused her emotional issues.

[Related: What models REALLY look like]
"I had a nervous breakdown when I was 17 or 18, when I had to go and work with Marky Mark and Herb Ritts," Moss, 38, says tells Vanity Fair. "It didn't feel like me at all. I felt really bad about straddling this buff guy. I didn't like it. I couldn't get out of bed for two weeks. I thought I was going to die." She finally pulled herself out of bed to seek professional help — not that it was the answer to her problems either. "I went to the doctor, and he said, 'I'll give you some Valium,' and [photographer] Francesca Sorrenti, thank God, said, 'You're not taking that.' It was just anxiety. Nobody takes care of you mentally. There's a massive pressure to do what you have to do. I was really little, and I was going to work with Steven Meisel. It was just really weird — a stretch limo coming to pick you up from work. I didn't like it. But it was work, and I had to do it."

Spears, Odom face test of live TV on 'X Factor'

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2012 file photo, singer Britney Spears arrives at the Pre-GRAMMY Gala & Salute to Industry Icons with Clive Davis honoring Richard Branson in Beverly Hills, Calif. Spears is a judge on "The X Factor." Fox’s “The X Factor” began airing live episodes Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, with new co-hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez. (AP Photo/Vince Bucci, file) LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears was coolly composed on the first live episode of "The X Factor." The same can't be said for new host Khloe Kardashian Odom and her microphone.
Odom, adding to her reality TV credentials, was paired with Mario Lopez to emcee "X Factor" as the singing contest shifted Wednesday from taped to live broadcasts.
Lopez, host of "Extra," performed like the pro he is. Odom came across like the novice she is, shouting her lines despite the mic clutched in her hand and making awkward small talk with contestants and judge and executive producer Simon Cowell.
When Lopez teased 13-year-old singer Diamond White about having a boyfriend, the girl replied, "No, we're friends. My mom would kill me."
"Don't let your mom kill you," exclaimed Odom, drawing a confused smile from White.
At another point, Odom sounded like an oddly flirtatious schoolgirl as she introduced Cowell as "Mr. Sexy."
In a conference call Tuesday, Cowell had discussed expectations for his co-host, a member of reality TV's first family that includes sister Kim Kardashian. Odom's credits include "Khloe and Lamar" with husband Lamar Odom, a Los Angeles Clippers player.
She wants to "prove a point," Cowell said, noting observers had questioned Odom's readiness to steer a live program.
He warned that she would need "nerves of steel" Wednesday because she had less rehearsal time than planned.
"I kind of like to see the unpredictable and I quite like seeing people under pressure and just how they deal with it," Cowell said. Odom and Lopez replaced first-season host Steve Jones, a U.K. TV personality.
Cowell also expressed reservations about how Spears would manage.

Terrorist Offers Hurricane Aid, US Says No Thanks

Terrorist Offers Hurricane Aid, US Says No Thanks (ABC News)The U.S. has turned down an offer of post-Hurricane Sandy assistance from one of the world's most wanted men, a Pakistani terror leader with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head.
Hafiz Saeed, an Islamist militant who is alleged to have masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that left more than 160 people dead, issued a written statement Wednesday saying his organization was willing to send supplies and volunteers to help the U.S. East Coast recover.
"We are ready to send food items, medicines and doctors to the U.S. for the people affected by the storm," said Saeed. "America [may] fix bounties on our heads but as followers of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), we feel it is our Islamic duty to help Americans trapped in a catastrophe." Saeed noted that the charity he heads had provided aid in Sri Lanka and Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami.
Saeed is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terror group banned by the Pakistani government, and still heads its charity wing, Jamaat ud Dawa. Earlier this year the U.S. State Department offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture or arrest.
After Saeed's offer of assistance, the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan declined his help via Twitter. "We respect the Islamic tradition of help to the needy," said the tweet, "but we can't take Hafiz Saeed's offer seriously."
Saeed founded Lashkar-e-Taiba more than 25 years ago and has mounted many attacks against India as part of a campaign to wrest the Kashmir region from Indian control. Saeed is accused of masterminding the Nov. 26, 2008 terror attacks on the city of Mumbai. Ten gunmen took part in the multi-day assault, which cost the lives of at least 166 people, including six Americans. The lone surviving attacker, who faces a death penalty, has accused Saeed of hatching the plot.
Pakistan kept Saeed under house arrest after the attacks for some months but then released him. He maintains a high public profile inside the country. In September, he led street protests against the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims."
On April 2, when the State Department announced its $10 million reward for Saeed, it said the bounty had "everything to do with Mumbai and his brazen flouting of the justice system."
Saeed responded to the announcement of the bounty by publicly taunting the U.S. government.
"I am here, I am visible," said Saeed on April 4. "America should give that reward money to me."
"I will be in Lahore tomorrow. America can contact me whenever it wants to," said Saeed. He also expressed surprise that the U.S. did not know where he was, offered to face charges in an American court, and said America had "gone blind" because of its hatred of Islam.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner reacted to Saeed's taunts by stressing that the reward was for information leading to his arrest or conviction, not his location. "We all know where he is," said Toner. "Every journalist in Pakistan knows where he is." Toner said it was unfortunate that Saeed was free to give press conferences, but that the U.S. hopes "to put him behind bars" and is seeking information that would "give the Pakistani government the tools to arrest him."
The $10 million bounty makes Saeed among the top five most-wanted on the U.S. terror list; al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is worth a $25 million reward. The U.S. also offered up to $2 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed's brother-in-law, who is the deputy leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

With Christie, Obama vows, ‘We will not quit until this is done’

Just six days before the election, President Barack Obama toured storm-ravaged areas with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. He told Garden State residents struggling in the superstorm's aftermath that all of America shares their pain—and their government is there to help.
"The main message I wanted to send is the entire country has been watching what's been happening," Obama said Wednesday during a visit to the Brigantine Beach Community Center. "Everybody knows how hard Jersey's been hit."
("Except my boss," shouted Michael Henshaw, 32, a Brigantine resident who works at an insurance company. "Well, except your boss. If you need me to call, you let me know," Obama replied, drawing laughter from the room. That exchange, and many of the details in this post, are from pool reporter Reid Epstein of Politico.)
The White House told reporters that during the worst of the storm's devastation 200 people were sleeping in the center's gym, though that number has dropped to 50. The center still serves as a spot for people to get meals and take hot showers.
Obama traveled to New Jersey, which bore the brunt of the storm's wrath, with Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate. The president and Christie—an outspoken Mitt Romney backer—traded praise over the response to the devastating storm.
"I want to just let you know that your governor is working overtime to make sure that as soon as possible everybody can get back to normal," said Obama. "We are going to be here for the long haul. We're going to not tolerate any red tape. We're not going to tolerate any bureaucracy."
Christie, wearing a blue polar fleece jacket with "CHRIS CHRISTIE GOVERNOR" in white letters over his heart, echoed Obama's message.
"I just want to tell all of you exactly what the president just said. I know he means it," Christie said. "I want to thank the president for coming here today. It's really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that's going on here in New Jersey, and I appreciate it very much. We're going to work together to make sure we get ourselves through this crisis and get everything back to normal. Thank you for coming, sir."
Aides say the president is focused on doing his job, not on the election, but the governor's praise and the seemingly smooth federal response to the storm could help him in his neck-and-neck race with Romney.
Obama and Christie took an aerial tour of some of the destruction aboard the president's Marine One helicopter before the visit to Brigantine.
In brief public remarks afterward, the governor had said of the president, "He has sprung into action immediately to help. He has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit.
"It's been a great working relationship to make sure that we're doing the jobs that people elected us to do, and I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and the people of our state."
(He also joked about those who ignored his "admonition to get the hell out of here. You are forgiven this time, but not for much longer.")
Obama returned the praise, saying Christie had been "responsive" and "aggressive" even before "this incredible storm. ... The people of New Jersey recognize that he has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before. So I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership."
The president added that "because of some good preparation, the loss of life was kept lower than it might have been."
He then offered his "thoughts and prayers" to those who lost loved ones. "I speak for the whole country," he said.
Both men cited the urgent need to restore power to the vast areas that lost it during the storm.
Obama, who canceled campaign events on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to take charge of the federal response, said he had instituted a "15-minute rule" for returning telephone calls from governors and mayors. "If they need something, we'll figure out a way to say 'yes,'" the president said.
"We will not quit until this is done," he promised.

Sandy first, election later

HURRICANE Sandy still held the centre-stage attention by Tuesday morning, pushing the campaigns towards the presidential election to a second place, at least for President Barack Obama.
His GOP challenger, Mitt Romney continued to campaign in battleground states, especially the all-important Ohio, where the president still held the edge 50 to 46 at the time of this report.
Obama, as the president, had a duty to return to his job in the White House to monitor the hurricane now dubbed a “Frankeinstorm” due to its monstrous, destructive force (mainly through flooding). Just as we saw in Nigeria recently during unprecedented flooding and President Goodluck Jonathan had to address the nation and roll out emergency assistance strategies as well as conduct an extensive touring of the worst affected areas, Obama also spoke to Americans.
He told them the storm had now taken the primary place of attention, the elections next week “will take care of themselves”. He told them every effort would be made to ensure they got their food, water and needs in their various improvised shelters.
Said he: “Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Don’t delay, don’t pause, don’t question the instructions that are being given because this is a powerful storm”.
He had to drum in the message knowing how stubborn Americans can be to “instructions” from state officials. Most radio and television networks brought him on from time to time.
Meanwhile, the president dispatched former President Bill Clinton to Florida, one of the crucial battleground states (which was, for once, surprisingly spared the ire of a major hurricane) to work the electorate on his behalf.
It is being speculated that in four years, his wife, Hillary Clinton, who is the Secretary of State in the Obama administration, will be coming out for president; and win or lose, Obama will be paying back the huge political debts he now owes the Clinton family.
This hurricane is widely speculated to have a variety impacts on the election, but that will be discussed later in my dispatches off this forum. About 60 million people in eleven east coast states were impacted, with flooding, power cuts, evacuations, loss of heating and physical destruction of property, not to mention the possibility of human and pet fatalities.

Senator sues FG for N5bn over Boko Haram link

THE senator representing Borno Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Ahmad Zanna, has asked an Abuja High Court to order the Federal Government to pay him N5 billion for damages he suffered for maliciously announcing to the public that one of the commanders of the Boko Haram sect, Shuaibu Bama, was arrested in his house.
In a suit filed before the court, Zanna had joined the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Attorney General of the Federation and Lt Col Sagi Musa as defendants.

Gunmen kill Ex-Borno gov’s friend, 2 others in Maiduguri

Alhaji Mustapha Fulawama, a political stakeholder and friend of former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, was killed by gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram on Wednesday, in front of his residence at Polo GRA in Maiduguri.
Eyewitness told the Nigerian Tribune that Fulawama was gunned down along with two others alleged to be his friends and associates.
Nigerian Tribune also gathered that the gunmen came in a Golf car and asked for the late Fulawama, but when they were told that he went out, they waited for him outside until he returned.
“They opened fire on them in the car; they were three and killed all of them on the spot,” a resident of the area told the Nigerian Tribune.
Confirming the incident, spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order in Borno, Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, told the Nigerian Tribune in a telephone conversation that the force was coming up with information on the incident

Akwa Ibom deputy governor resigns

Akwa Ibom State deputy governor, Mr Nsima Ekere, on Wednesday, tendered his resignation from office after seving in the capacity for 17 months.
In a letter dated Wednesday, October 31,  endorsed by his press secretary, Mr Inemesit Ekere said his resignation was on personal grounds.
He, however, commended the state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio and the people of the state for the opportunity given him to serve the state.
 Ekere, who was the chairman of  the Akwa Ibom  Investment and Industrial Promotion Commission, (AKIIPOC) before his last appointment wished the governor and the people well in the remaining years of the administration.

Security operatives trail kingpin of Kaduna church attack •Hospitals discharge 111, 4 to be buried inside church

Operatives of  the State Security Services (SSS) have commenced a manhunt for the main mastermind of the October 28 attack on St. Rita Catholic Church, Malali, Kaduna following clear indications linking him to the attack.
Sources in the security confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that the operatives had trailed the suspect to a location in Abuja where he escaped to.
It was gathered in Abuja that security operatives had zeroed in on the kingpin of the attack and he was actually trailed to his hideout in Kaduna.
A source who is knowledgeable on the issue, however, said that there is confusion over the real motives of the attack.
The source said that there was no clear confirmation that the leaders of Boko Haram sanctioned the attack, as they were said to have recently warned their members not to attack worshippers in any church.
Sources said that the operatives were bent on trailing the main mastermind and getting him so as to unravel the main motives behind the attack.
 “There is a bit of confusion on the attack. There is the information with the security agencies that the real leaders of Boko Haram have warned that nobody should carry out attacks on churches and that they have no issue with innocent Nigerians who go to places of worship. But there is the belief that a breakaway faction might have masterminded the attack. The leaders feel that some persons could be using the name of the organisation,” a source had stated.
It was gathered that the man believed to be the kingpin of the attack had two aides whom, he hurriedly abandoned when the operatives closed in on him.
“He is actually on the run and as he is moving, operatives are trailing him. In a matter of time, he will be caught,” another source said.
A suicide bomber had attacked St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Malali, Kaduna on Sunday, leaving eight persons dead and 100 others injured.
The attackers struck at the peak of the service, targeting the 1,200 worshippers at the service.
The church was said to have been picked as a target for attack following the discovery by the masterminds that it was a “soft target,” which means that military  presence is reduced in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Kaduna Catholic Diocese, Bishop Mathew Manoso Ndagoso,  has agreed that four worshippers, who died in the  bomb explosion, should be buried within the church premises.
However, a total of 111 victims of the Sunday bomb blast earlier admitted, had been discharged from three hospitals.
According to Ndagoso, the families of the dead had made advanced preparations to give private burial to the victims but the church insisted that it would take responsibility for the burial.
“The interment of the four victims within the church premises is meant to be a mark of honour to them and a great watershed for Saint Rita and the entire Catholic family,” he said.
 He, however, advised Christians not to embark on reprisal mission as revenge  was of the Lord.
In another development, minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, on Wednesday in Abuja, urged the National Assembly to speed up the amendment of the Anti-Terrorism Law pending before it.
Adoke, who is also the Attorney-General of the Federation, said this in an address he delivered at the valedictory court session in honour of retired Supreme Court Justice, Olufunlola Adekeye.
He said the speedy conclusion of work on the law would reposition the judiciary in the fight against terrorism.
He further noted that the weakness of the former law necessitated the ongoing amendment, saying, “justice can only be done to terrorists and their financiers if penalties are commensurate with the offences.”
On the contributions of Adekeye to the country’s jurisprudence, Adoke said the retired justice had shown that the Supreme Court bar was not meant for male justices alone.
He stated that the country had benefited from Adekeye’s decisions “and she will truly be missed.”
Mrs Aloma Mukhtar, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), in her speech, said that Adekeye was an epitome of justice, whose decisions could hardly be faulted.
In his speech, Chief Okey Wali, President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), said “Adekeye had a remarkable career as one of the brightest stars in the nation’s judicial firmament.
“Her humility and modesty could not keep her from rising to the highest court in the land.
“Her  demeanour and poise, Solomonic wisdom and intellectual acumen, propelled her to this honourable temple where we now stand to honour her,” he said.
In her comments, Adekeye expressed gratitude to the honour shown her, adding that: “My efforts amount to naught without God.”

Jonathan swaps ministers •Stops new memos for contracts

altPRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, moved the Minister of State for Power, Mr Darius Ishaku to the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, while the erstwhile Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Hajia Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, takes over Mr Ishaku’s position in the power ministry.
Ishaku had acted as Minister of Power since the resignation of the substantive minister, Professor Barth Nnaji, a few months ago.
According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, the president announced the reshuffle during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja, saying that the two ministers would begin work in their respective new ministries immediately.
President Jonathan also directed that no fresh memos for contracts should be accepted by the council after November 30, meaning that all memos under the 2012 budget must be submitted by that date.
In the absence of the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, who is on Good Governance nationwide tour, Minister of Communications, Mrs Omobola Johnson; Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen and the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs Olajumoke Akinjide, with Dr Abati, briefed State House correspondents after the meeting.
FEC, at the meeting, approved contacts worth about N11.7 billion for construction of phase one of the 220-bed general hospital for Gwarimpa District and the 13-floor headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau.
According to the Minister of State for the FCT, the general hospital, which contract was awarded at the cost of N3.02 billion, would cater for the health needs of Gwarimpa Estate.

300,000bpd oil controversy: Rivers, Bayelsa govs at war •Leave our oil wells - Rivers •Stop blackmailing the president - Bayelsa •30 traditional rulers protest •Cross River may get reprieve on loss of oil well •Jonathan wades into Anambra, Kogi, Enugu oil


THE festering controversy between the Bayelsa and Rivers state governments over the ownership of some oil bearing communities which produces 300,000 barrels of crude oil daily in Kalabari deepened on Wednesday as the governors of the warring states, Mr Seriake Dickson and Rotimi Amaechi respectively laid claims to the oil wells.
The development came against the backdrop of the recent Supreme Court verdict, which affirmed that the disputed oil wells, which had been in existence, even before the creation of Bayelsa State out of the old Rivers State, actually belong to Bayelsa.
Apparently resting his submission on the pronouncement of the apex court, the Bayelsa State governor, Dickson said there was no need for his Rivers State counterpart to dissipate energy on a matter that had been laid to rest by the Supreme Court judgment, confirming that the Kalabari oil wells belong to Bayelsa State.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Markson-Iworiso in a press statement on Wednesday, the Bayelsa State governor said: “We have made our stand sufficiently clear on this matter. And our stand is duly backed by law. The law, as we know it, deals with facts and concrete evidence.
“On the issue of ownership and the claim by the Rivers State government to Soku Oil wells, I believe it is no longer news that the Rivers State government took Bayelsa State to the Federal High Court on this same issue and lost. Instead of appealing the matter in the Appeal Court, the Rivers State government invoked the constitutional provision and filed a suit in the Supreme Court in 2011 and this year, the Supreme Court upheld Bayelsa State’s position,” Dickson contended.

Nigeria may close oil fields to curb gas flaring

The federal government may have resolved to shut down oil fields as it tries to clamp down on gas flaring, even if it means a loss of revenue, an industry official said yesterday in Abuja. 
Currently, Nigeria, unarguably Africa’s top oil producer and holder of the world’s seventh largest natural gas reserves, is considered to be among the top two gas flarers in the world, burning off unwanted gas, after Russia.
“One of the things we are doing is to do some analysis for government, to such an extent that it will even mean a proposal to shut down fields to avert huge gas flaring,” Mr. Osten Olorunsola, director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, told Reuters.
“We will probably make that position known to government very soon,” said the man appointed last year by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Despite a noticeable dip in flaring of associated petroleum gas, produced as a by-product of crude extraction, Olorunsula said the government was unhappy with the pace of decline.
He said Nigeria currently routinely flared between 1.3 and 1.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas a day, down from roughly 2.5 bcf about one and a half years ago.
Russia flares around 20 billion cubic metres of associated gas each year, or approximately one-third of the total amount extracted at the country’s oilfields.”Over the last few years, we have seen some bit of reduction, but the quantum is not as expected. We want a lot more to come down as low as possible,” Olorunsola said.
A long-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill, currently at parliament, proposes that gas flaring be banned at a date to be decided by the oil minister.
Oil majors such as Shell and Total are among the top global operators that dominate the Nigerian oil sector, although smaller companies including Afren and Oando are expanding their presence in the West African state.
While the issue of flaring was an industry-wide phenomenon, Olorunsola said the worst culprits were older fields found onshore, which were not fitted with “gas solutions” when built decades ago.”
So, operationally it is difficult to retrofit solutions after, but if you consider recent developments, they all had gas solution as part of their development concepts,” he said.
Adding to the desire to capture this wasted gas was the ongoing development of a viable local gas market for Africa’s most populous nation, something which was not there previously.”Today gas is of value so there is a lot of appetite and hunger to actually mop them up,” he said.

UN honours 1, 500 Nigerian soldiers in Liberia

Acting Head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, Louis Aucoin on Monday honoured more than 1,500 Nigerian peacekeepers, including 92 women, with UN medals for their contribution to UNMIL and peace in Liberia.
Aucoin hailed Nigeria’s outstanding contribution to international peacekeeping, describing the country as a committed ally of the UN’s efforts to bring peace and security to the world.
The Acting UN envoy further commended Nigerian peacekeepers, deployed in Bomi, Gbopolu and Grand Cape Mount counties, for serving diligently in their area of operations and then peacekeepers in Margibi and Montserrado counties for providing escort duties, conducting joint patrols with the Liberia National Police and UNMIL Formed Police Units, and for guarding government and UNMIL establishments.
He said, “As we re-double our efforts in re-enforcing the capacity of Liberian security agencies; I count on your continued professionalism and zeal as UNMIL proceeds with the transition planning.
“Liberia’s stability will remain UNMIL’s top priority while we work with the Government and partners to map a critical path towards a complete transition.”
Dignitaries present at the ceremony included UNMIL Force Commander Major-Gen. Muhammad Khalid; the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, Chigozie Felicia Obi- Nnadozie, the representative of the Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army, Major General Emmanuel Bassey, UNMIL Deputy Force Commander, Brig. Gen. John Kwasie and UNMIL Force Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Hugh Van Roosen.
The program was also attended by other UNMIL Senior military and civilian staff.

39 die, 15,000 flights cancelled in US

Subterranean basement of Financial District, New York, USA ... on TuesdayAt least 39 people have been killed, millions are without power and transport across the north-eastern United States has been severely disrupted as storm Sandy heads north for Canada.
In New York City, 10 people have been killed and the public transport system remains closed until further notice.
In New Jersey, three people were killed, including a couple killed by a falling tree when they got out of their car; their children, 11 and 14, who remained inside, survived.
A woman in West Virginia died when her car collided with a cement lorry, in heavy snow caused by the storm.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said 2.4 million households in the state had been affected, double the number hit by Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
The devastation was “beyond anything I thought I’d ever see,” Christie told a news conference.
The Path commuter train service, which links New Jersey and New York City, is likely to remain suspended for seven to 10 days, Christie said.
The tidal surge from the storm left fields of debris 7ft (2.25m) high and carried small railway goods cars onto elevated sections of the New Jersey Turnpike, he said.

Police: 10-year-old boy sorry he shot neo-Nazi dad

Officer Michael Foster, who responded to the call of a shooting death on May 1, 2011, testified Tuesday on the first day of the boy's murder trial in Riverside County juvenile court.
"He was sad about it, he wished he hadn't done it," Foster said. "He asked me about things like, 'Do people get more than one life,' things like that. He wanted to know if (the father) was dead or if he just had injuries."
Jeff Hall, 32, was an out-of-work plumber and a regional leader of the National Socialist Movement. He organized rallies at synagogues and a day labor site after his sister-in-law was killed six years ago by a hit-and-run driver who was an illegal immigrant, according to testimony.
In opening statements, however, prosecutor Michael Soccio dismissed defense arguments that Hall's neo-Nazi beliefs "conditioned" the child to kill. The boy was violent, angry and had been expelled from multiple schools, Soccio said.
He also said the boy, now 12, suspected his father was going to leave his stepmother, who had raised him since he was a toddler.
"You'll learn that (the child) would have shot his father even if he'd been a member of the Peace and Freedom Party. It made no difference," Soccio said before showing photos of Hall playing with his children. "They lived a relatively normal life."
The Associated Press is not identifying the child because he is a juvenile. If a judge decides he killed his father, the boy could be held in state custody until he is 23.
Defense attorney Matthew Hardy said his client grew up in an abusive and violent environment and learned it was acceptable to kill people who were a threat.
Hall taught his son to shoot guns, and took him to neo-Nazi rallies and once to the Mexican border to "make sure he knew what to do to protect this place from the Mexicans," Hardy said.
"If you were going to create a monster, if you were going to create a killer, what would you do?" he said. "You'd put him in a house where there's domestic violence, child abuse, racism."
The defense suggested that the boy's stepmother, Krista McCary, goaded the child into killing Hall because her husband planned to leave her for another woman.
McCary told a police officer at the scene that she had killed her husband, but testified she had lied to protect her stepson. She has pleaded guilty to one felony count of child endangerment and criminal storage of a firearm in the case, said John Hall, district attorney spokesman, who is not related to the victim.
The bespectacled brown-haired boy in a purple polo shirt sat quietly in court next to his attorney. He showed little emotion as the prosecution showed photos of his blood-spattered father. He appeared to be taking notes, and on several occasions asked his attorney for the spellings of witnesses' names as they testified.

Disarray, millions without power in Sandy's wake

Kim Johnson looks over the destruction near her seaside apartment in Atlantic City, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Associated Press/Seth Wenig - Kim Johnson looks over the destruction near her seaside apartment in Atlantic City, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, …more  halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  less 
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The most devastating storm in decades to hit the country's most densely populated region upended man and nature as it rolled back the clock on 21st-century lives, cutting off modern communication and leaving millions without power Tuesday as thousands who fled their water-menaced homes wondered when — if — life would return to normal.
A weakening Sandy, the hurricane turned fearsome superstorm, killed at least 50 people, many hit by falling trees, and still wasn't finished. It inched inland across Pennsylvania, ready to bank toward western New York to dump more of its water and likely cause more havoc Tuesday night.  Behind it: a dazed, inundated New York City, a waterlogged Atlantic Coast and a moonscape of disarray and debris — from unmoored shore-town boardwalks to submerged mass-transit systems to delicate presidential politics.
"Nature," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, assessing the damage to his city, "is an awful lot more powerful than we are."
More than 8.2 million households were without power in 17 states as far west as Michigan. Nearly 2 million of those were in New York, where large swaths of lower Manhattan lost electricity and entire streets ended up underwater — as did seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn at one point, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

Ajimobi denies wife’s arrest

Controversy swirled around the Oyo State’s government yesterday when news filtered around the media that the governor’s wife had been arrested in London.
The Government while denying the allegation promply  slammed a N1billion suit against the evening newspaper. The Governor’s wife yesterday evening spoke from London denying that she had been arrested.
No mention was made, however, of when the suit was filed and who their lawyer is.
Special Adviser on Media to Governor, Dr. Festus Adedayo.disclosed the filing of the suit yesterday
According to the release, the government of Oyo State had the responsibility to ensure that the media does not become an instrument in the hands of blackmailers for such acts.
“We want to state unequivocally that this report is not only wicked, it is the figment of the imagination of the writers. Mrs. Ajimobi was never arrested for any offence whatsoever.
“Even though our investigations have shown that this is the work of some arrowheads of the opposition, it was done in such an amateurish way that beats the imagination of any responsible reader,” the release said.
The government said that though it had a lot of respect for  the media, there was the need to drag the runners of these media to court to explain the details of their reports to the rest of the world.
Meanwhile the governor’s wife reportedly spoke from London, saying the report was concocted by political opponents of her husband
Mrs Ajimobi, said; “I don’t know what they are talking about; I don’t know where they got the information from. I left Nigeria on Sunday and I was  not arrested. I don’t know where they got that information from.
“No, I was not arrested by police. I came back with my daughter on Sunday. Now I am getting ready to come back home. I had not been invited by the police and I don’t know what all this is about.”
Explaining further, She said, “I have a 14-year-old daughter who has been there for seven years. She has been here since 2007. She came to Nigeria for two weeks; we left Nigeria Sunday morning. That is my mission here”.
Asked if she knew about the story, she answered in affirmative.
“I read the report here in England. I was shocked. I read it but there is no iota of truth in everything they wrote. I’m sure it is opposition and I am surprised that some people can descend so low to write falsehood.”
According to her, the writer of the story pandered to the dictates of some people and allowed himself to be used.
She also denied the allegation that her current trip was the 52nd time she traveled since her husband assumed office as the governor of the state.
She responded, saying, “It then means I am not living in Nigeria then. Maybe, when I travel back, I will show you my passport to count how many times I have traveled,” she said .
“I have an underage daughter that has been schooling in London since 2007. If you look at my passport since 2007 and compare the way I traveled then with the way I travel now, you will discover that I travel less now”, she explained.
“My daughter is complaining that I am not regular there. I make her come to Nigeria more because I can’t afford to spend 10 days or more over there.”

Jonathan: How Nigerians Saved My Job

0303F02.Goodluck-Jonathan-Y.jpg - 0303F02.Goodluck-Jonathan-Y.jpgPresident Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday said he was able to overcome the quest by a section of Nigerians to oust him from office through the fuel subsidy protest because the majority, who voted him into office, resisted such move.

Jonathan, who spoke in Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital when he met with the Chairman of the country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), Madam Christina Thorpe, as well as chairmen and some presidential candidates of political parties contesting the general elections, said the overwhelming support and goodwill he enjoyed from a cross-section of Nigerians saved his job when the fuel subsidy protests raged in the country in January.

While advising them on the need to conduct a credible election in the next round of elections coming up on November 17 this year, the President said taking such steps was critical and a recipe for political stability.

According to him, the wave of protests that took the country by storm would have swept him out of office if not for the groundswell of opinions emanating from those in the majority, who popularly voted for him and wanted to see stability and progress.

“In Nigeria, I remember the fuel subsidy crisis all over the country. I could have been removed but I was confident of my mandate. When some people started talking of regime change, majority of the people who voted for me insisted that they elected me and what they are asking for is change of policy, not regime change; and that calmed down the situation.

“Credible elections give you the mandate of the people and confidence too. It is difficult to calm people down when elections are manipulated,” Jonathan said.

He added that: “If we had manipulated elections in Nigeria, I would not have had the courage to come and confront you. If I had manipulated myself into office, there is no way I would come and sell to you what I do not have.”

He spoke in Freetown, Sierra Leone when he met with chairman of the country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), Madam Christina Thorpe, as well as chairmen and some presidential candidates of political parties contesting Sierra Leone’s general elections coming up on.

While appreciating a donation of 25 operational vehicles and $1 million to Sierra Leone; including the training of some of the country’s electoral officials in Nigeria towards the conduct of the polls, many of the political parties’ chieftains requested for more assistance from Nigeria, including providing subventions to the parties to enable them withstand the financial might of the bigger parties.

Jonathan pledged to oblige their request but asked Sierra Leone’s ruling party, the All Peoples Congress (APC) to allow for a healthy competition during the election in order to reap immensely in terms of credibility from such action.

Jonathan was also bestowed with that country’s highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Republic of Sierra Leone (GCRSL) awarded to him during Sierra Leone’s 51st Independence Anniversary in April.

The award, according to President Bai Koroma, was given to Jonathan in recognition of his and Nigeria’s invaluable support for and timely intervention during difficult times in Sierra Leone.

“We as a nation are very grateful. This is the crowning of our bilateral relations and your personal assistance to Sierra Leone,” Koroma said.

Nigeria’s envoy to DR Congo turns Ekiti regent

Nigeria’s current Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Princess Jolaade Onipede, has emerged the regent of Ilasa-Ekiti.

Onipede was on Tuesday installed at a well attended ceremony in the town located in Ekiti- East local government area of the state.

Eldest daughter of the immediate past Alasa of Ilasa, Oba Abel Ajibola, Onipede appealed to kingmakers in the town to hasten up processes of selecting the next monarch.

“ I was an adviser on chieftaincy affairs in this state and I know all that is involved in the process of selecting monarchs for our towns and the roles of regents . I promise not to disappoint the people of the town.

“During the regime of Engineer Olusegun Oni, there was this law that was passed pegging the number of years a regent could stay at two and if the next ruling house is ready today with their nominee for the throne, I will vacate the stool without delay.

“We don’t expect the process to be delayed, as my late father warned us that we should not meddle in the process of selecting the new Oba. My stay in the palace is to also tidy up the property of my father, who reigned for over 63 years,” she said.

US declares Sandy storm major disaster

US declares Sandy storm major disasterUnited States President Barack Obama yesterday declared a “major disaster” in New York state and freed up federal aid for those who lost homes or businesses, after “super storm” Sandy swept through the Eastern Seaboard.

No fewer than 39 people were reported to have died in New York and other places, after one of the biggest storms to ever hit the country made landfall on Monday night in New Jersey.

The storm, which dropped just below hurricane status before striking land, has left 33 people dead across several US states. It had already killed more than 60 people in the Caribbean.

Heavy snows threatened mountainous regions inland, and huge population centres of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington have been affected.

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, said in a news conference yesterday that the upcoming challenges facing the city in the coming days “are enormous”.

“The most recent report states three quarters of a million New Yorkers are without power,” he said.

“You should expect, given the extent of damage, power will be out for two or three days, maybe even longer than that.”

Bloomberg said public transport will remain closed until further notice, and schools and airports remain closed on Tuesday.

“While the worst of the storm has passed, conditions are still dangerous, and I cannot stress this enough,” he said.

Obama will travel to New Jersey today to view the destruction wrought by Sandy on the state.

Speaking at the Red Cross headquarters in Washington yesterday, Obama said his thoughts and prayers were with those who lost loved ones in the devastating hurricane, which has claimed at least ten lives in New York City alone.

“Obviously this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation,” he said, “And we certainly feel profoundly for all of the families whose lives have been upended, and are going to be going through some very tough times over the next several days, perhaps the next several weeks and months. The most important message that I have for them is that America is with you. We are standing behind you and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet.”

Many streets in New York City are filled with floodwater, with some subway tunnels breached and flying debris littering deserted pavements.

The city had closed down subway, bus and commuter train systems as of Sunday night.

More than eight million US homes and businesses were without power after Sandy tore down power lines, flooded electrical networks and sparked an explosion at a Consolidated Edison substation on Manhattan’s East River.

About a quarter of New York City’s homes and businesses were without power 15 hours after the storm roared ashore accompanied by a nearly 4.2-metre tidal surge that flooded empty subway and highway tunnels.

More than one million people in a dozen states were under orders to evacuate as the massive system plowed westward.

One disaster forecasting company predicted economic losses could ultimately reach $20bn, only half insured.

Trees were downed across the region, falling debris closed a major bridge in Boston, and floodwater and gusts of wind buffeted coastal towns such as Fairfield, Connecticut, home to many commuters into New York City, where police cruisers blocked access to the beaches.

Power and back-up generators failed at New York University hospital, and patients were being elsewhere for care.

The storm’s wind field stretched from the Canadian border to South Carolina, and from West Virginia to an Atlantic Ocean point about halfway between the US and Bermuda, easily one of the largest ever seen.

The National Hurricane Centre said Sandy came ashore as a “post-tropical cyclone”, meaning it still packed hurricane-force winds but lost the characteristics of a tropical storm. It had sustained winds of 129km per hour (kph), well above the threshold for hurricane intensity.

NYSE Euronext remained closed on Tuesday, the first time it has shut as a result of weather for two consecutive days since 1888.

The southern tip of Manhattan where Wall Street and the NYSE are located lost power on Monday after being buffetted by Sandy, the worst storm to hit New York since at least 1938.

The federal government in Washington was also closed, and so too were schools up and down the East Coast.

Con Edison, New York’s electric utility, said it expected “record-size outages”. The company said it would pre-emptively shut down transformers in some areas to prevent further damage.

Early on Tuesday morning, US power company Excelon Corp declared an alert at the 615MW Oyster Creek nuclear power reactor in New Jersey due to rising ocean water from Sandy, a spokesman at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said.

An alert is the second lowest of the NRC’s four emergency classifications.

The NRC spokesman said if the flood waters continued to rise, it could affect the reactor’s service water pumps, which are used for shut-down cooling and to cool the spent-fuel pool.

Jonathan denies involvement in Rivers/Bayelsa boundary dispute

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has denied any involvement in a boundary dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states.

The presidency, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, in Abuja, on Tuesday, said those behind a protest in Abuja, where Jonathan was accused of orchestrating plans to cede five Rivers State oil communities to Bayelsa State, were engaging in an exercise of blackmail.

The statement noted that the dispute in question predated President Jonathan-led administration and had never be brought before him for any action.

“Our attention has been drawn to a publication in some newspapers today about a protest staged by the Kalabari National Forum and some monarchs in Abuja, in which the so-called protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of interfering in a boundary dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states.

“The protesters alleged, directly and through innuendoes, that there are plans to cede five Rivers State oil communities to Bayelsa with the connivance of various Federal Government agencies under the watchful eyes and supervision of the president, whose home state, most ingloriously, is the direct beneficiary.”

“We consider these allegations irresponsible and most unfortunate, considering the status of the persons who reportedly championed the protest.

“The statutory agencies being referred to by the protesters do not take orders from the president; they are independent bodies. Besides, there are laid down procedures for resolving inter-state boundary disputes.

“In this particular case, the dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states predates the Jonathan administration and has been a matter for consideration by the National Boundary Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and other relevant agencies, long before now,” the statement read.

The statement condemned the motive, saying that it was surprising that a personality of Alabo Graham Douglas, himself being a former minister, would team up with a group bent on causing disaffection between the president and his Ijaw kinsmen.

“We advise the Kalabari National Forum, its members and hidden sponsors to avoid the temptation to instigate conflict between the Nembe and Kalabari people of Rivers and Bayelsa states, who are both of the same Ijaw stock,” it added.

The president appealed to the people of Rivers and Bayelsa to refuse to be dragged into the politics of conflict being orchestrated by individuals pursuing a hidden agenda

Suntai ignored hired pilot’s warning —Report

IT emerged on Tuesday that the recent crash of Cessna 208, a private jet piloted by Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State could have been prevented if he had heeded the professional advice of his hired pilot not to fly to Yola airport at sunset.

According to reports, the hired pilot had earlier warned the governor against flying to the airport when it was obvious that they could not meet with the visual flight mandatory for that type of aircraft which is not in the instrument flight category.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that this advice was allegedly jettisoned by  Governor Suntai who was said to have immediately taken over the cockpit and embarked on the ill-fated journey with the said pilot refusing to join the flight because of the obvious risk.

Yola airport is not in the category of airports where flights can be operated  for 24 hours because it is not well-equipped which makes it a no go area after 6.00 p.m.

Only Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt are on 24-hour flight operations.

According to the country's aviation policy, small jets like the Cessna plane Governor Suntai piloted on the day in question was only allowed to fly based on visuals from morning to 6.00 p.m. daily.

And once the sun sets, it is always difficult to fly smaller aircraft like the governor's plane.

The governor, who has since been flown to Germany for adequate treatment in view of the injury he sustained in the crash, obtained a private pilot licence from the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, which allows him to fly himself.

The ill-fated plane which departed Jalingo, Taraba State, for Yola, Adamawa State, was reported to have lost contact with the Yola Control Tower (1720Z) and field in sight at 38 miles, estimating landing at 1730Z before crashing.

Third Mainland Bridge reopened

The longest bridge in Nigeria, Lagos's Third Mainland Bridge, has been re-opened to traffic. It was declared open a few minutes ago by the Minister of Works, Mike Onolehmenmen.

"Repair was not only completed 10 days ahead of delivery time, it was also completed at the awarded contract sum, devoid of variation," Onolehmenmen said, "I have the honour and privilege to declare the repair works on the Third Mainland Bridge completed. The bridge is hereby re-opened to traffic."

Praising the contractor who completed the bridge ahead of schedule, the Minister said, "The 3MB is not the only comprehensive bridge repair in Nigeria. Borini Prono completed repairs of Jebba bridge before coming to Lagos.

He also added: "The structural elements on the 3MB hv been given a clean bill of health from experts. If the bridge was sick, I wouldn't be here today."

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Ibori’s $15m : Court rejects request to summon Clark

Ibori’s $15m : Court rejects request to summon ClarkA Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, refused oral application to summon the prominent South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, over his comment on the controversial $15 million traced to the convicted former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.
Ibori allegedly offered the money as bribe to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Clark had called for the sack of the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, over the needless controversy generated by the money.
At the resumed hearing of the suit by the commission, seeking forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) criticized the elder statesman for commenting on the issue already before the court for adjudication.
Ruling on the request to invite Clark, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who said the application was diversionary, pointed out that Clark is neither a party nor counsel in the matter before him.
He, however, said the commission is at the liberty to file a formal application to summon Clark before him.
Meanwhile, a London- based lawyer, John Olufemi Aina has filed an application on behalf of an individual, Olalekan Kayode asking the court to remit the $15 million bribe money to him on trust for the public.

Monday 29 October 2012

Abdulsalami’s group loses Eko, Ikeja power firms

Abdulsalami’s group loses Eko, Ikeja power firmsIntegrated Energy Distribution and Marketing – a firm promoted by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar – yesterday lost out as the core investor in the Eko and Ikeja electricity distribution companies.
The company was named the core investor for four of the 10 electricity distribution firms (DISCOs) put up for sale by the National Council for Privatisation (NCP).
The two are the most lucrative of the firms.
But yesterday, when the NCP renamed the preferred bidders for the privatised firms, it gave only the Ibadan and Yola distribution firms to Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing firm.
NCP Technical Committee chairman Mr. Atedo Peterside announced the preferred bidders in Abuja on behalf of the Federal Government.
Government also announced the preferred bidders of the electricity generation companies, bringing the privatisation of the power sector into a milestone.
There are stringent conditions for the preferred bidders.
New Electricity Distribution Company (NEDC/ICEPCO) is the preferred bidder for Ikeja Distribution Company. West Power and Gas is the preferred bidder for the Eko Distribution Company.
Vigeo Power Consortium, besides winning the Benin Disco, is the reserved bidder for Ikeja Disco. Its contender for Benin Disco – Southern Electricity Distribution Company – was disqualified for submission of multiple bids.
Oba Otudeko’s Honeywell Energy Resources International Limited is the reserve bidder for Eko Disco.
Sir Emeka Offor’s Interstate Electrics Limited beat Eastern Electric Nigeria Limited, owned by the five South eastern states, which was approved as the reserved bidder for the Enugu Disco.
The Afam Generation Company and Kaduna Distribution Company are yet to get preferred bidders.
The five generating companies also got preferred bidders.
The process, however, drew criticisms from some quarters.
At the sixth meeting of the council yesterday, successful bidders were given 15 days to make financial commitments through their banks.
The companies are expected to be handed over to the preferred bidders at the conclusion of the transaction within the next six months at which the companies are expected to have made full payment.
Besides, NCP disqualified Southern Electricity Distribution Company for submission of multiple bids for Benin Disco.

Microsoft appoints technology officer for Nigeria

OlayinkaMICROSOFT Nigeria has appointed Mr. Olayinka Oni as the company’s national technology officer.  Oni comes with 15 years experience in Information Technology working in consulting and the banking sector.
His most recent experience was CIO/GM IT & Operations at Wema Bank Plc, a role in which he successfully provided strategic direction for banking operations and ensured that the IT function and capabilities was tightly aligned to the corporate goals and objectives of the company.
Oni has also worked with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc as CIO/Vice-President Information Technology and before then was with Accenture (Global Firm of Management Consulting) as an Experienced Manager in the Nigerian practice working across industries like banking, manufacturing and government and Access Bank Nigeria Plc., working across the Operations, Technology Support and Business Development functions.
As National Technology Officer, Oni will be very instrumental in ensuring that Microsoft Nigeria has the right relevance in society and with the Federal Government by helping generate policies and programmes that create a more sustainable ICT environment.  The role will also see him assist the government adopt and leverage technology to make them more transparent, efficient and competitive.

No cover-up on Ribadu report -Presidency •I must get report latest Friday -Jonathan

CONTRARY to fears being expressed by opposition political parties, there will be no cover-up over the report to be submitted by the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force which President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the committee to turn in on Friday. 
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, who made this declaration in a statement he issued in Abuja on Monday, pointed out that the president was committed to the fight against corruption and has assured that there would not be any cover-up in the findings of the Ribadu report when the report is finally submitted.
According to Okupe, this was why the president has directed that the report be submitted to him on Friday, November 2.
The committee was required to, among other tasks, determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes and royalties, etc,) due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and to take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owed; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators.
The statement noted that the president has neither seen nor received any copy of the report, noting: “Essentially, what appears to have been irregularly released prematurely to the media is a draft copy which still requires full accent of all members of the committee and clarifications and due process from the originating ministry before the official handing over to the presidency.”
While saying that President Jonathan should be commended for his personal resolve to fight institutionalised corruption in Nigeria, the statement observed that the president ordered the probe of the oil industry for the period of ten years (2002-2011) which also covers the tenure of his administration.

Tunde Ponnle’s wife dies at 68

Nigerian Tribune learnt that Mrs Ponle died in a Cardiff Hospital yesterday morning during a brief illness at the age of  68.
Speaking in a telephone conversation with the Nigerian Tribune, the deceased’s daughter, Mrs Bukky Adubi, confirmed the death, saying that it happend on Monday morning.
Burial arrangement, according to her, would be announced later.
Meanwhile, former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has described the death of Chief (Mrs) Ponnle as “a great loss to Nigeria and to Osun State in particular.”
Oyinlola, who is also the national secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and president of the Nigerian Golf Federation, in his reaction, said it was a rude shock, stressing that her death had made Nigeria poorer.

H-A-L-L-I-B-U-R-T-O-N: Pressure on Jonathan to stop prosecution

altPRESSURE from powerful angles is now mounting on President Goodluck Jonathan to stop the prosecution of all the suspects indicted in the Halliburton bribery scam.
Informed presidency sources disclosed to the Nigerian Tribune that two former heads of state whose cronies were involved in the scam have even threatened to withdraw their support for the president if he goes ahead to prosecute the suspects.
The source revealed that even as the former heads of states are threatening, the United States government has warned the Federal Government of imminent sanctions if those indicted are not prosecuted.
Towards this end, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered the immediate commencement of investigations into the case.
Consequently, all members of the task force from all the security agencies that initially investigated the case two years ago are being recalled to begin work.
Also, the investigating team, which was to have visited France, United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland and United States, where the proceeds of the bribery scandal were kept, are soon to embark on the journey which was stalled two years ago.
The source revealed that all those that were initially indicted are now running helter-skelter contacting powers that-be on how they can stop the investigation.
In spite of the pressure, the source added that the Federal Government is insisting that the suspects must be prosecuted, as the US government has read the Riot Act if it fails to bring those involved to justice.

Shake up at NNPC

The management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission on Monday approved the appointment of Ian Udoh and Paul Obelley as new managing directors for the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) respectively.
The appointment which is contained in a statement by the acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Fidel Pepple, took immediate effect.
He said that a number of other management staff members were also promoted while others were re-deployed.
He named those promoted to include Farouk Ahmed, formerly Executive Director, Commercial, PPMC, now Managing Director NIDAS; Samuel Babatunde, formerly Executive Director Operations of the Warri Refinery, now Project Director Olokola Liquefied Natural Gas Project.
Also promoted are Abdullahi Dandume, formerly Executive Director Operations, Nigerian Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO), now Managing Director NETCO and Aliyu Sambo, who was General Manager, M&P, now Group General Manager, Accounts.
Aholu Beks was also promoted as Group General Manager Information Technology Division from his previous position as head of Information Services Department.
Dr Edwin Bako, Medical; Sylvester Idemudia, Greenfield Refineries and Okhes Jonathan, Power, were also promoted as Group General Managers.
Others are Benjamin Obaigbena, Research and Development and Dan Efebo, Human Resources.
Those re-deployed include Gabidon Meheux, former Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, now Managing Director, NNPC Services and Chris Osarrunwese, former Group General Manager, Human Resources, now Group General Manager, Downstream Business Development.
Bayo Ibirogba, former Group General Manager, Greenfield Refineries, now takes charge of engineering in the same capacity.
The NNPC spokesman said all the appointments took immediate effect.

Taraba deputy governor denies acting governor claims

In response to insinuations that he has taken the position of his injured boss, Taraba State deputy governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, said he has not been sworn-in as acting governor.
Umar, while addressing journalists at the Government House, Jalingo said he remains the deputy governor.
The deputy governor said that Governor Danbaba Suntai was responding to treatment.
“I remain the deputy governor of Taraba State. I am not acting. I can’t be sworn-in as acting governor because my boss is still alive,” he said.
Umar also denied claims of attack on him by thugs on the evening his boss was involved in the crash, as reported by some newspapers.
Suntai, who was involved in a plane crash, has been flown abroad for treatment.

JTF raids arms store in Damaturu

The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe, on Monday, disclosed that the team recovered sophisticated arms from a cache in Damaturu.
Lt. Eli Lazarus, JTF spokesman, in a statement made available to journalists revealed that “the JTF, acting on a tip-off, raided a suspected terrorist arms store at Pompomari area of Damaturu on Sunday."
The statement explained that five Mark IV rifles, one 'Fabrique Nationale' and one pump-action rifle, one riot gun shoot range, four riot guns, one tear gas canister as well as bow and arrows were recovered during the raid which was devoid of exchange of fire.
The JTF reiterated its commitment to providing security and protecting lives and property of all citizens.

UK jails Nigerian 20 years for sex trafficking

42-year-old Osezua Osolase was found guilty of five counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, and one each of rape and sexual activity with a childA Nigerian sex trafficker from Gravesend who used African witchcraft rituals to silence young girls smuggled into Britain to be sold on as prostitutes has been jailed for 20 years.
Osezua Osolase (42) tricked poverty-stricken Nigerian orphans into traveling to the UK with the promise of a better life. But instead the Nigerian treated the victims as "commodities" to be used in a form of "modern-day slavery" by attempting to send them on to mainland Europe to be sexually assaulted by gangs.
Young victims were raped, sexually abused and subjected to voodoo-style rituals once in the clutches of the  trafficking ring.
One girl had hair cut from her armpits by a man wearing feathers. Others were slashed with knives, forced to drink foul-smelling potions and had blood taken with syringes to ‘cast a spell’ over them.
The girls were told they would die or never bear children if they tried to escape or revealed what had happened to them.
The man responsible, Osezua Osolase, was on the surface a recycling worker living in a terraced house in Gravesend, Kent. But he was in fact the British linchpin of a multi-million pound global child sex trafficking ring that used medieval ‘juju’ black magic to control its victims.
His home was a secret staging post for vulnerable teenage orphans as they were smuggled from Africa to several European countries.
Detectives discovered evidence that at least 28 victims were smuggled in and out of Britain by Osolase over a 14-month period, earning him up to £1.5million.
But the true figure could run into hundreds as the paedophile was overheard by one girl boasting he had been operating for 15 years as he tried to sell her for £60,000.
This was despite being deported back to Nigeria in 2007 after police caught him trying to use stolen credit cards.
Osolase simply married a mysterious German woman and returned to the country the following year with a five-year visa. As well as his wife he had a Nigerian mistress in Catford, South-East London, who recently gave birth to his son.
The scale of his crimes can be revealed for the first time after he was convicted at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday of trafficking three girls aged 14, 16, and 17.
One was raped and all three endured juju rituals, including one conducted by Osolase himself. One feared she was being taken to another country to be used as a human sacrifice. A jury was told Osolase slashed the chest of his youngest victim with a razor and rubbed black powder into her bleeding wounds.
She was ordered to take an oath of loyalty to him and believed that if she broke it she would not have children, go mad and die.
Osolase groomed her after the death of her parents by visiting her village with presents and saying she would go to school in Europe.
But he abducted her and said she should prepare for life as a prostitute in Italy where she would be raped by ‘white men who smoked drugs’.
The other two girls were terrorised by a local witchdoctor in Nigeria shortly before being flown out of the country with promises of an education and modelling work.
The 16-year-old told police she was taken to a ‘place of witchcraft’ where she was told to bathe in a ‘bloody gunk’ and wrap blood-soaked cloth around her.
As Osolase watched, a man wearing feathers on his head cut hair from her armpits, cut some of her finger and toenails and took blood from her hand with a syringe.
She was told that the body parts taken in the ritual would be used to find and kill her if she tried to run away or failed to repay her captor.
The 17-year-old wept as she described how she was tricked into travelling to Britain with the promise that she would go to school. She was made to drink a potion laced with blood. Police found no evidence that Osolase lived a luxury lifestyle and believe he has hidden the profits of his crimes in Nigeria.
Dr Hermoine Harris, an expert in Nigerian religions, told the jury the juju rituals carried huge weight in Nigerian society. She said: ‘By taking someone’s blood you hold and control somebody’s very essence and their power.’
Detective Inspector Eddie Fox said after the case that Osolase was ‘evil’ and branded him a ‘predatory paedophile’. Osolase was convicted of five counts of human trafficking, rape and sexual activity with a child.

“How I survived fuel subsidy crisis” -GEJ

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that the popular and democratic electoral mandate given him by Nigerians saved his job during the subsidy removal protests in the country early this year.
The President was speaking in Freetown, Sierra Leone when he met with chairman of the country's National Electoral Commission (NEC), Madam Christina Thorpe, as well as chairmen and some presidential candidates of political parties contesting in the Sierra Leone's general elections coming up on November 17 this year.
Jonathan spoke in line with his admonition to the political class, to jointly ensure free and fair polls as such this guarantee their popularity with the electorate and the ability to gain the people's confidence when taking take strong decisions in tumultuous times.
According to the President, the crises that engulfed Nigeria when he attempted to remove petroleum subsidy last January would have seen him removed from office if not that the majority of citizens who voted for him refused to be coerced or deceived into demanding for a regime change instead of reversal of the policy.
"In Nigeria, I remember the fuel subsidy crisis all over the country, I could have been removed but I was confident of my mandate. When some people started talking of regime change, majority of the people who voted for me insisted that they elected me and what they are asking for is change of policy, not regime change; and that calmed down the situation.
"Credible elections give you the mandate of the people and confidence too. It is difficult to calm people down when elections are manipulated", he said.
Lecturing his audience on the need for credible polls, President Jonathan enthused that he would not be in Sierra Leone to preach free and fair polls if he had not successfully done same in Nigeria. According to him "If we had manipulated elections in Nigeria, I would not have had the courage to come and confront you. If I had manipulated myself into office, there is no way I would come and sell to you what I do not have".
He tasked Sierra Leone's ruling party, the All Peoples Congress (APC) to ensure a level playing field that will bring about acceptable elections as the party stands to reap immensely in terms of credibility from such action. Ruling simply by might is primitive and does not ensure stable polity, stressed Jonathan who pledged more of Nigeria's assistance towards successful elections in Sierra Leone.
Nigeria had earlier donated 25 operational vehicles and $1 million to Sierra Leone, and trained some of their electoral officials in Nigeria towards the conduct of the polls. Many of the political parties' chieftains requested for more assistance from Nigeria, including providing subventions to the parties to enable them withstand the financial might of the bigger parties.
Jonathan was also formally bestowed with that country's highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Republic of Sierra Leone (GCRSL) awarded to him during Sierra Leone's 51st Independence Anniversary in April. He thanked the people of Sierra Leone for the honour and assured that Nigeria would continue to give as much assistance it could to them as the relationship between both countries grow stronger. The award, according to President Bai Koroma, was given to Jonathan in recognition of his and Nigeria's invaluable support for and timely intervention during difficult times in Sierra Leone.
"We as a nation are very grateful. This is the crowning of our bilateral relations and your personal assistance to Sierra Leone", Koroma said.

How Katsina state is doing so much with so little

It is not magic; it is our ability to ensure judicious utilisation of scarce resources. Our budgets are usually based on 70 per cent capital expenditure and 30 per cent recurrent expenditure. This explains why we have been able to provide more infrastructure,’’ says Governor Ibrahim Shema.
By all accounts, Katsina state, carved out from old Kaduna state in 1987, has recorded great strides in terms of socio-economic and physical development.
Observers say that the state has undergone a remarkable transformation with good road networks, modern schools and hospitals, as well as steady water supply in urban and rural centres.
Most of the observers, however, believe that the state’s transformation reached a crescendo in the last five years of Gov. Ibrahim Shema’s administration.
They believe that the Shema-administration has succeeded in repositioning the state and its people for sustainable and pragmatic development.
Perceptive observers have been commending the state government for its vision, demonstrated specially in the establishment of a state-owned university - Umaru Musa Yar’adua University. 
Shema’s determination to boost the state’s infrastructure via the construction of a N12.5 billion 35km six-lane ring road in Katsina, the state capital, has also been widely commended by the citizens, who believe that the project will aptly place the state on a sound economic footing.
The people, perhaps, have justifiable reasons to shower encomiums on the governor, as many observers say that the state is fast becoming a model for other states in the North-west geopolitical zone of the country.

Ribadu Report: ‘We’ll investigate cover-up allegation – Senate

Following the shocking exposure of rot in the country’s oil sector made in the leaked report of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, chaired by Malam Nuhu Ribadu, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Nkechi Nwogu, has assured Nigerians of the Senate’s readiness to investigate the purported rot and allegation of an official cover-up immediately it reconvenes from its short break.
Fielding questions on phone, yesterday during a phone-in radio programme tagged ‘ Factfile’ on Raypower fm, Nwogu, representing Abia Central Senatorial district, described the report as quite “revealing and shocking”, and the Senate will look into it further.
According to her, the legislators are concerned that among other areas where monies have been identified as belonging to the Nigerian government, revenue received from the gas sub-sector is questionable and grossly inadequate.
“Especially, we at the committee have always questioned revenue received so far from the gas sector as grossly inadequate as we believe that Nigeria deserves to receive more money than what has been shown or presented in the appropriation account”, she maintained.

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has condemned the alleged victimisation and severance of its union officials in the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)


Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has  condemned the alleged victimisation and severance of its union officials in the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
It stressed that Nigerians should hold the oil company’s management  responsible for the industrial action that would follow if SPDC failed to reinstate the union officials.
The union, in a statement signed by its Deputy President, Comrade John Eddy Ossai and acting General Secretary, Comrade Isaac Aberare, reiterated that the NUPENG-SPDC caretaker committee chairman, Comrade Enomate Kingsley and 16 other union members affected by the severance should immediately be reinstated in the interest of industrial peace.
According to the union, the decision to dissolve the executive committee of Shell branch of NUPENG for anti-union activities and set up a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the union in the interim was taken in line with its constitution.
“The refusal by the management of SPDC to recognise the caretaker committee  and the planned  action to outsource the fire department where the majority of the workers were based, notwithstanding the union’s vehement opposition to the plan, would be resisted,”  the union said.
To actualise its plan, the SPDC management transferred the former chairman, Comrade Fidelis Okandeji, expelled by the union for anti-union activities and his loyalists, out of the department, leaving members of the caretaker committee vulnerable while hiding under the guise of divestment and management business decision to severe the union officials,” NUPENG added.

A suicide bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a Catholic church in Kaduna on Sunday


A suicide bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a Catholic church in Kaduna on Sunday, killing at least eight people, wounding nearly 100 and triggering reprisals that led to the death of at least two more, officials said.
The bomber drove a jeep right inside the packed St Rita's Church, in the Malali area of Kaduna, a volatile ethnically and religiously mixed city, in the morning.
A spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Kaduna said that five people had been confirmed killed, while 98 people were receiving treatment for wounds at two local hospitals.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Islamist sect, Boko Haram, has claimed similar attacks in the past and has attacked several churches with bombs and guns since it intensified its campaign against Christians in the past year.

Sallah: Perm Sec’s son killed on his way to buy ram

Call it double tragedy or misfortune, the last Eid-el-Kabir was a sad period for a retired permanent secretary (names withheld) in Maiduguri, Borno State as the man lost two sons barely a month after he missed death by the whiskers following a gun attack on him by assailants suspected to be Boko Haram. His son identified as Abdulrahaman was reportedly shot dead by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram while returning from a cattle market within the metropolis last Friday.
Sources said the gunmen also snatched the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) which the victim used to carry a ram he bought for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration. “Somebody just called the family house at about 9am on Friday and said some gunmen have killed Abdul along the Kasuwa Shanu Road where he had gone to buy rams for the family early in the morning on Friday. Honestly, it is the saddest news for the family that has just lost another son to sickness about a month ago and don’t forget the Alhaji (the retired permanent secretary) was also attacked about two months ago,” a relation of the bereaved told Daily Sun yesterday on condition of anonymity. About two months ago, the former permanent secretary who retired from the services of the Yobe State government but lives in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, was attacked in his house by gunmen. One of the residents said the gunmen sneaked into the house at dusk and demanded for money.
“I learnt they pointed gun at the man and threatened to kill him if he fails to give them money. “Maybe they thought the man still has a lot of money like before but when the man couldn’t produce the amount they were expecting, they hit him on his cheek with their guns and fired few shots and left. Fortunately, he didn’t die. His family rushed him to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) where he spent weeks to recuperate,” the resident said. While on admission at the hospital, the news of the death of another son was brought to him. The young man was said to have died after a brief illness.

Stephen Keshi

Wednesday morning I came across Stephen Keshi at the restaurant of the Suncoast Hotel in Durban. After brief exchange of pleasantries he had to go and freshen up after a long journey. We were to meet at the draw venue, later in the day, and talk.
Let us relive the draw
Started from pot number four, then the third pot was exhausted. Then came pot 2, Nigeria’s pot and all the speculations about Cote Divoire, Ghana and South Africa came to the fore.
Cote D’ivoire was out of the way. Ghana eliminated and only Angola and Nigeria remained in the pot. A2 was drawn and the South Africans held their breadth . Nigeria has always been their Nemesis.
The 2000 capacity Durban International Conference Centre was all hush as Kalusha Bwalya dipped his hands in the bowl and drew….Angola…cheers, joy and relief.
The South African coach was to say later that he was happy to have been drawn against teams that have never beaten South Africa.
The draw to him was very fair, thanks to President Jacob Zuma who earlier on had drawn Cape Verde. Not too many people bother to think that in the FIFA ranking, Cape Verde is superior to South Africa!

The end of the draw signaled the beginning of interviews and as usual coaches were the focus of attention especially Stephen Keshi who engineered the return of the Eagles to the Nations Cup and whose popularity in Africa spans Togo and Mali……
At the end of it, all I was able to get was a “good night” from a coach who was to wake up the next morning by 5am to inspect training venues, stadium and hotels in the Mbombela Centre where the Eagles will be based with Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

Uduaghan’s aide raped, matcheted

Uduaghan’s aide raped, matchetedA female top government functionary (names withheld) in Delta State had a close shave with death when she was attacked at her residence in DDPA area of Asaba, the state capital. The government’s appointee was allegedly raped, battered and tortured into coma by a man believed to be her former driver and two other accomplices.

The suspects are now in police custody. Public Relations Officer of the state’s police command, DSP Charles Muka, told Sunday Sun on phone that he was yet to be briefed on the incident. When our correspondent visited the victim’s three-bedroom apartment, the place had been deserted. But a close source said she was still recuperating in an undisclosed hospital. According to sources, on the fateful day, the victim’s driver had reported for duty as usual.

He was soon joined by his predecessor, who had earlier been “sacked by the madam”. “Nobody suspected anything was going on inside the house because of the high fence. But at about 10 p.m., the two drivers drove out of the compound in the madam’s jeep with 50 litres of fuel and never came back.” Having regained concsiousness at about 4 a.m. she struggled and managed to get to her neighbour’s gate to seek assistance. “When she knocked at the gate, I peeped through a small hole and found she was the one, I opened the gate and discovered she had matchet cuts all over her body.

It was at that point we raised an alarm and rushed her to hospital,” our source added. According to the source, there were blood stains on the walls in the victim’s apartment, adding that the blood on the floor had congealed. The source added: They broke her head, raped her and mutilated her body. The plot was to kill her, but God’s intervention saved her.”

However, following the incident, security operatives trailed the suspects to Abakiliki where they had gone to dispose of the vehicle and were subsequently arrested. A neighbour in the area told Sunday Sun that the attackers might have carried out the dastardly act as their own pound of flesh, describing the victim as too hostile to her domestic staff.

“Nobody stays here with her. She lives alone. Whenever the driver comes to pick her, he is not allowed to go into the house. He always hangs around the gate. Sometimes, he would sit on that stone and doze off. Her house girl too had to run away because of the way madam mal-treated her. There was a day she poured hot water on the girl because of early morning tea,” said a neighbour who pleaded anonymity.

Crippled native doctor, dad arrested for kidnapping in Delta

Crippled native doctor, dad arrested for kidnapping in Delta

A crippled native doctor, Oloma, and his father, Onwuka, were among members of an inter-state kidnapping gang arrested by the Delta State Police Command at the weekend. Oloma and his dad were alleged to be preparing charms for other members of the gang whenever they were going for operations. The gang, said to be operating between Delta and Anambra states, was believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of a former Commissioner for Local Government Affairs in the state, Mrs. Kate Onianwa at Ibusa and one Stella Emolieze at Ubulu-Uku.
The arrest of Oloma and his dad followed the earlier arrest at Okwe, a suburb of Asaba of one Anayo, a notorious kidnapper who had been on the wanted list of the police. Anayo was said to have confessed to the crime and led police detectives to Agulu in Anambra State where weapons including three AK47 rifles, 34 magazines and 914 ammunitions concealed inside a ceiling were recovered. Anayo also led the detectives to Obomkpa in Delta State where another suspect, Prince Bassey and the native doctor’s cohorts were apprehended.
A Toyota Corolla car and a red Golf car allegedly used for kidnapping operations by the hoodlums were recovered in the possession of the native doctor. Also recovered from them, according to the state police command spokesman, DSP Charles Muka, include one single barrel gun, one English double barrel gun, one locally made pistol, 25 cartridges, 149mm ammunition and two battle axes. Muka further confirmed the arrest at Agbarho, a serving army corporal and five others including Kily Jabin, Austin, Tega and Shedrack over alleged armed robbery, kidnapping and tanker hijacking offences.
The police spokesman who said the gang operates within Warri/Ughelli and environs, stated that two Vento cars used for the illicit acts were recovered, stressing that efforts had been intensified to arrest their arms supplier. He added that all the suspects including the inter-state kidnappers and the tanker hijackers would soon be arraigned in court.