Rain of death: 7 pupils die, properties worth thousands destroyed in Lafia

Residents of Lafia, Nasarawa State capital witnessed a wild weather of cataclysmic proportions that shook the entire city at the wee hours of Wednesday as heavy downpour wreaked havoc at Living Foundation Nursery/Primary School, leaving seven pupils dead and thousands of property destroyed.

The rain, which started a few minutes after some pupils had arrived on the school premises, located within Tuntun-Kauri area on the Lafia-Makurdi Expressway, also affected many houses within its environs due to lack of proper drainage.

Eyewitness said the classrooms, which were built with corrugated iron sheets on waterways could not withstand the force of the rain and was pulled down suddenly. All seven pupils in the class at that time died instantly.
It was learnt that some teachers, who were present at the school when the torrential rain started, abandoned the pupils and ran for dear lives.

The state chief fire officer, Alhaji Dogara Dalhatu who confirmed the ugly incident said that about four pupils were confirmed dead during the torrential rain.
Dalhatu, who blamed the incident on non-compliance with physical planning regulations, also lamented that the school authorities knew quite alright that it erected illegal structure there.

His words, “I received a call from the Ministry of Works that there was problem around that area  and you know we all woke up to a downpour and that signified that there was a problem because of lack of proper drainage. People build on the way of water which is very dangerous.

“The report from my men was that there were four dead bodies discovered and they had been deposited at the hospital. What they are doing is not good, especially in Lafia here. People do not comply with the rules and regulations guiding the planning and physical structure in the state. We cannot blame government for this unfortunate incident,” he said.

Reps threaten to arrest naval boss over absence at hearing on crude oil theft

A dramatic confrontation is unfolding between Nigerian Naval authorities and a House of Representatives committee investigating oil bunkering, with the lawmakers threatening to order the arrest of the nation’s naval chief if he continued to snub the committee.

The navy  has come under scathing criticisms from the petroleum upstream committee since the investigation opened on Tuesday.

The lawmakers blame the navy for not providing adequate security and coastal patrol through where stolen oil are siphoned across daily with  attendant loss for the nation nearing N1 trillion annually, according to industry experts.

Shell Nigeria, said to lose the largest quantity of oil to the theft, told the committee on Tuesday 150,000 barrels of its crude are stolen from the pipelines, moved through barges to waiting ships (many foreign) offshore.

Nigeria Agip Oil Company said it loses about one million barrels monthly.

The multinationals say the oil cartels, operated like illicit drug trade, should have been minimized if security patrols in the waterways had been heightened.

The naval authorities have announced the arrest of several illegal oil-laden ships in the past.

But with many of the vessels later reported to have escaped, the lawmakers have pointed at the possible collusion between government officials, security agents and the illegal oil traders.

The committee, headed by Ajibola Muraina, has insisted on receiving presentation on the navy’s role in the matter only from the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim; but Mr. Ibrahim has snubbed the sitting since the investigation opened Tuesday.

The committee has also summoned the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Olusheyi Petinrin.

The naval boss has sent in representatives on Tuesday and Wednesday, and on each day, the committee dismissed the personnel.

On Wednesday, the naval officers were ordered out of the hearing hall after explaining their bosses, Mr. Petinrin and Mr. Ibrahim, were attending the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.  

The committee disallowed the representatives from making presentations insisting the military chiefs must appear in their persons, and on Wednesday, it warned an arrest may be issued.

“We are not ready to deviate from our rules and we are not going to allow any junior officer to make the presentation because we don’t want a situation where statements would be misinterpreted by the superior officers,” said committee chairman, Mr. Muraina.

“Let no one take us for granted, things are not working in this country because we deliberately make our institutions very weak because we don’t want them to be strong.

“We are here to dance to the tune of these sad happenings and under the leadership of this House; we are prepared to protect our independence and powers.

“We would not hesitate to apply the law, we have the power to issue warrant of arrest, depending on what we want, we are not bound to follow that but I warn again that whoever is invited to this public hearing should appear.

“Again, by tomorrow, if the CDS and the CNS are not here, I will not hesitate to take appropriate measure as this committee deems proper.

“They are given till tomorrow (Thursday) to appear unfailingly; else we will show that we have some power we can exercise.

Jimoh Ibrahim to appear before police over pension scam


The embattled businessman who is already being tried for tax evasion, and forgery, is now being investigated for pension fraud


There appears to be no end in sight to the troubles of embattled billionaire and Group Managing Director of Nicon Group of companies, Jimoh Ibrahim, who has now been asked to appear at the office of the Inspector General of Police, on Thursday, over his roles in the pension fraud being investigated by the Nigerian Police, sources familiar with the matter have told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Ibrahim, alongside his airline, Air Nigeria, is already being tried in court for tax evasion and forgery by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which accused the billionaire’s company of evading a N4.86 billion naira tax over five years; and of forging a Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) to enable it to get the necessary expatriate quota of pilots for his airline.

The recent investigation by the Police, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, is to explain the roles Mr. Ibrahim’ s insurance companies, Nicon Insurance Plc, and Nigerian Reinsurace Corporation played in the N32billion police pension administration fraud  being investigated by the police.

“He will appear before the police today. He has to come and explain the role his companies played in the scam,” a source said.

Mr. Ibrahim, who is a top member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and also a gubernatorial aspirant of the party in the forthcoming governorship elections in Ondo State, is a major financier of the party.

He benefitted immensely from the privatisation programme of the Federal Government under President Olusegun Obasanjo when he acquired, among others, the defunct Sofitel Hotel, Nicon Insurance, among others, from the Federal Government.

Though Mr. Ibrahim has explained that he has turned the companies he acquired into profitable ventures while creating more jobs, he has been widely criticized by many over the ways he acquired and managed the companies.

EFCC arraigns fraudsters for defrauding Australian



Two suspected fraudsters, Abiola Ayanlaja and Michael Atirene, have been accused of defrauding an Australian lady.

Two suspected fraudsters have been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for defrauding an Australian, Flora Veith, to the tune of over $12,000.

The suspects had deceived to Ms. Veith into believing that the said sum represented part of the delivery cost of the sum of $1, 300,00 USD “Lottery Money” .

Messrs Ayanlaja and Atirene  were arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on an 18-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money under false pretenses contrary to section 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act.

The accused pleaded not guilty to all the 18-count charges.

One of the charges reads-  “Abiola Ayanlaja (a.ka. Elvis Wells), Michael Atirene and Chidi (a.k.a Emmanuel Nicky) still at large on or about the 19th day of May,

2011 at Ikeja within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain the sum of $6,047.77(Six Thousand Forty Seven United States of America Dollars Seventy-Seven Cents) from Flora A. Veith of Australia by falsely representing to her that the said sum represented part of the delivery cost of the sum of $1,300,00 USD “Lottery Money” which representation you knew to be false.”

The prosecution counsel, Abosede Bosede, prayed the court to give a date for the commencement of trial, assuring that the prosecution is ready with all information and witnesses needed for trial. She also asked the court to remand the two suspects in prison custody.

“In view of the plea of the defendants I will be asking for a trial date and they should be remanded in prison custody.’’

But counsel to the first defendant, M. M Duwa said his client had just filed an application for bail.

He asked the court to allow for argument on the application.

However, the EFCC counsel objected to the request. She said the bail application was just served to her in court and she would require time to respond to it.

The judge, Mr. Onigbanjo then fixed  July 5 for hearing of the bail application and remanded the accused persons in Kirikiri Maximum Prison.

ex governor’s brother caught with cocaine

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday morning raided the Abuja residence of a brother inlaw to the former Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva, where it seized a bag containing substances suspected  to be cocaine and subsequently took him into custody.
It was gathered the EFCC raided the house in search of documents and evidence to nail Sylva for alleged financial crimes perpetrated during his four-year tenure as governor of oil-rich Bayelsa but stumbled into the bag of drugs. The EFCC Spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwajaren confirmed the raided report.
However, the suspect  reportedly denied knowledge of the substance and has accused the EFCC of planting the substance in his residence.
The statement read, “In an apparent plot targeted at former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, men of the EFCC stormed the Abuja residence of his brother-in-law, Mr. Richie Imoh Tommy, early Friday morning.

“They conducted a thorough search of the house, and when they found nothing incriminating, they produced a bag which they said contained cocaine.

“On that basis, Mr. Tommy was arrested and has been denied access to his lawyers. Mr. Tommy completely denies ownership of the said bag, and wonders why even without a test or investigation, EFCC would claim to have found cocaine in his house. Besides, it remains curious how EFCC suddenly became a drug-busting organ.

“Mr. Tommy believes that the EFCC’s assault on his residence and the allegation of a cocaine-laden bag is another desperate mission targeted at his in-law, the former Bayelsa State governor, by agents of President Goodluck Jonathan.”

Is Agbani Darego marrying Timi Alaigbe?

I don’t know how true this is, but, a respected colleague sent this to me
“Timi Alaigbe the Special adviser to the President on Niger Delta affairs is set to marry former Miss World Agbani Darego in December. The two have being in a relationship for some time and as now decided to make it official.
Naija Hottestgist(the colleague’s website) wish the intending couple a happy married life and will bring you more update about the wedding as it unfolds”

Boko Haram Church Bombings: KDSG Reviews 24-Hour Curfew

Shalom church

The Kaduna State government today relaxed the 24-hour curfew it imposed state-wide yesterday following violence in two of its cities, Kaduna and Zaria, declaring unfettered movement from 2pm to 6pm.

In a statement signed by a Senior Media Assistant, Reuben Buhari, the government said the new scheme will take effect today.  

The government requested the people of the State to remain calm and law abiding, and to cooperate with security agencies.