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FG To Establish Community Museums To Boost Tourism – Minister

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The Federal Government has announced plans to establish community museums as part of efforts to ensure that local communities benefitfrom tourism.

The Minister of Information and Culture,  Lai Mohammed, announced the plan on Thursday at the ongoing 4th World UNWTO/UNESCO
World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Kyoto, Japan.

The minister, through a statement by his media aide, said: ”In Nigeria, we observed that tourists stay in the big cities when they visit. They visit the museums in the cities where objects gotten from different parts, including the rural areas, are displayed but they hardly go to the rural areas.

”To encourage tourists to visit the rural areas where money spent is quickly reflected in the local economy, we are trying to establish community museums,” said the Minister, who served as one of the panellists at the Ministerial Segment of the conference, dedicated to discussing and exchanging policies and government models impacting the future of cultural tourism.

Minister Mohammed said the government will, in particular, encourage the establishment of palace museums.

”Parts of ancient residencies of traditional rulers and important chiefs are being turned to museums. Thus, we are not limiting museums
to the big cities. Money spent by tourists while visiting these rustic places stay longer in these areas. Lamido Adamawa now has the Fombina
Palace museum, just like the Emir of Potiskum has palace museum,” he said.

The Minister said the government, through high-level representation, training of festival managers and the provision of enabling environment, is supporting and promoting festivals and cultural tourism all over the country, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that local communities benefit from such events.

He said that a national calendar of festivals will soon be unveiled to assist tourists who are coming to Nigeria in planning their visits.

Alhaji Mohammed said that Nigeria has continued to leverage on the areas in which it enjoys comparative advantage, citing music, movies
and fashion as some of such areas.

Buhari, El-Sisi Pledged To Jointly Eradicate Terrorism

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President Muhammadu Buhari and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdelfattah El-Sisi have pledged to collaborate to eradicate the menace of terrorism in parts of Africa.

According to President Buhari,terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon that needs collaborative efforts.

Speaking with the Egyptian President on the sidelines of the Aswan Forum in Egypt, President Buhari said countries of the West African sub-region are already in close collaboration towards combating terrorism by setting up a multinational task force.

Senate Moves To Ensure Quality Healthcare For ‘Poor’ Nigerians

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The Senate on Thursday began moves to regulate Health Insurance in the country in a way that would allow poor Nigerians access to quality healthcare.

According to the upper chamber, this can be realised by seeking the establishment of the National Health Insurance Commission.

The Upper Chamber while considering a bill For an Act to repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme Act, 2004, said the passage of the National Health Insurance Commission bill, 2019 under consideration by the National Assembly would guarantee the effective implementation of the country’s health insurance policy.

According to Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), the bill “is about every family in Nigeria as it is manifestly clear that it is poised to positively affect all Nigerian families.”

He added that amongst other things, the bill seeks to boost healthcare delivery in Nigeria, provide robust, affordable and sustainable financial mechanisms for health, and reduce the high mortality rate across the country.

Oloriegbe further stated that the NHIS Commission bill, when passed into law, will strengthen the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund provided for in the National Health Act 2014, and enacted by the Seventh National Assembly under the leadership of Senator David Mark.

“Nigeria’s healthcare system is in urgent need of reform – the system must refocus to ensure it meets its laudable objectives and global best practices,” he said.

“It is time to provide the legal framework for a new policy shift in order to help poor and vulnerable Nigerians access to quality healthcare without any financial impediment.

“The bill as proposed, if enacted and properly implemented in the form envisaged, will make health insurance compulsory, boost the nation’s health indicators, improve productivity and economic well-being of citizens and enable the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after consideration of the bill, referred same to the Committee on Health for further legislative work.

Meanwhile, the Senate also urged the private sector not to leave funding of Nigeria’s health sector to the government alone if the attainment of universal health coverage by 2030 must be realised.

It also urged States in the federation that have not enacted laws on National Health Insurance to do so without further delay.

The resolutions were reached sequel to the consideration of a motion on “The 2019 International Universal Health Coverage Day”, sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North).

Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, the lawmaker stated that the United Nations General Assembly on December 12, 2012, endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) with emphasis that everyone should have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

He said that the goal of the UHC is to ensure that all people, no matter who they are or where they live, should be able to obtain health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.

Edo APC Rally: Oshiomhole Arrives Benin Amidst Tight Security, Calls For Calm

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National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has appealed to members of the party in Edo State to remain calm following the mayhem unleashed on the people of the state on Wednesday by armed thugs.

Oshiomhole made the appeal while addressing party members who escorted him to his house after he arrived in the state amid tight security.

The party chairman and other members of the NWC are in Benin to receive over 30,000 leaders of the PDP led by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu into the APC.

Thugs, however, took over the Benin Airport shooting sporadically.

Burn-fires were seen at strategic places in Benin City, while roads leading to the residence of the party chairman were blocked by heavy-duty vehicles.

It took him and other members of the NWC over one hour to get to his residence after soldiers came to disperse the armed thugs.

Reacting to the scenario while addressing party supporters at his residence, Oshiomhole said: “I know you are hurt with what we are passing through here but I want to plead with you don’t be provoked. Any reasonable party leader will be happy to welcome people from another party into his party.

“Particularly when those coming were people who fought us in the last election. And when you look at the margin then it was like 50,000. So we are in Benin to welcome them but you can see how their thugs are unleashing mayhem on people.

“But I want to tell you, APC is our house and we will not destroy it neither are we going to allow anybody destroy it. We don’t want anyone to be killed so, please don’t fight back. Those who know me know that I am not a coward, I am not afraid of a fight. But I will not and I urge you to remain calm.

“We are getting conflicting report now, the IG ordered the Commissioner if Police to give us protection for our rally. But we are being told now that the same authority said it has been cancelled. But I am going to make calls and find out what the problem is, if the police is saying they cannot protect a political rally.

“I will find out and let you people know. But even if they said we cannot hold it, please don’t fight anybody. I will meet them and find out when it will hold. But the rally will still hold someday. We have the right of association. This is not the first time we are seeing situations like this, but I can assure you it will not last forever.

“No condition is permanent. We must do everything to keep APC in Edo State no matter what the devil thinks. APC Is our house so we must resist any temptation to fight back. We must remember that our President Muhammad Buhari is a peaceful man. We must remain peaceful and go home and tell everyone, we remain strong. Nobody can shake our spirit. We will receive our brothers into the party to fortify our party”.

Alleged Internet Fraud: Court Adjourns Naira Marley’s Trial To Feb 27

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The Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has adjourned further hearing in the case involving Afeez Fashola, a.k.a Naira Marley, to February 27, 2020.

He is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged conspiracy and credit card fraud.

At the resumed sitting on Thursday, the first prosecution witness, PW1, Dalhatu Buhari, who was cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, (SAN), told the court that he did not need a password to access the defendant’s computer by the standards of his training.

He added that cybersecurity training was available to anyone.

When asked if any expert in cybersecurity could access a computer and do what he likes on it in relation to the credit card details that were found on the defendant’s computer, the witness said “It is not possible for just any expert in cybersecurity to access a computer and do anything he likes on it.

Earlier in the trial, the head of the forensic department at the Lagos zonal office of the EFCC, Nuru Buhari, testified that various stolen credit card information were retrieved from the musicians’ laptop.

Apart from the stolen credit card information, website visit history recovered from the device showed that the top five most visited sites dealt with buying and selling stolen credit card information.

But he (Naira Marley) has pleaded not guilty to all the allegation

IGP Cancels Planned Edo APC Rally To Welcome Ize-Iyamu

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The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has cancelled the planned rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to welcome Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

In an official communication between the IGP and the Edo State Deputy Governror, Mr Philip Shuaib, the Police boss directed a suspension of the Mega rally until further notice and called for a meeting of the political actors involved in the development with aim of resolving it.

According to the Force, the decision was based on security reasons as it wants to avoid any sort of bloodshed in the event the rally is staged.

The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was expected to lead the rally to welcome Ize-Iyamu to the APC after defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Arsenal Fight Back To Claim Europa League Last 32 Spot

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Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Standard Liege and make sure of a place in the Europa League last 32 as Group F winners on Thursday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka were on target in the space of three second-half minutes.

The Gunners, runners-up to Chelsea last season, finished the group stage with 11 points and a relatively easier draw in the knockout rounds.

They lived on their nerves as Eintracht Frankfurt were poised to knock them off top spot when the Germans led Guimaraes 2-1.

However, the Portuguese side, already eliminated, scored twice in the last five minutes to claim a 3-2 win.

Arsenal had beaten Liege 4-0 in the first meeting between the two sides and with a place in the knockout round already virtually certain, caretaker coach Freddie Ljungberg made nine changes to his starting line-up in Belgium.

The home side took the lead just after half-time when a speculative Samuel Bastien shot took a huge deflection which left Gunners goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez wrong-footed.

The goal meant Arsenal had failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 matches in all competitions, equalling their worst ever run under Arsene Wenger in 2004.

It got worse after 69 minutes when Selim Amallah made it 2-0 off another deflection as Liege looked for the unlikely scoreline of 5-0 which would put them through and Arsenal out.

However, Lacazette calmed Arsenal nerves after 78 minutes when he headed in a cross from Saka.

Three minutes later, the impressive Saka levelled the scores with a fine finish from the edge of the box.

Frankfurt had beaten Arsenal in London last time out with a win which hastened the departure of Gunners coach Unai Emery.

They were on course to finish top of the group after Danny Da Costa and Daichi Kamada gave them a 2-1 lead over Guimaraes.

However, Libyan midfielder Ali Al Musrati and English winger Marcus Edwards scored in the 85th and 87th minutes to leave Frankfurt in the runners-up spot.

Elsewhere, Celtic, fresh from winning the Scottish League Cup last weekend and already assured of making the last 32, lost 2-0 at Cluj who went through as Group E runners-up behind the Scots.

Italian giants Lazio, third in Serie A, were knocked out after a 2-0 loss at Rennes in the same group.

Later Thursday, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made nine changes to the side that beat Manchester City at the Etihad last Saturday for the home tie with Alkmaar.

Both United and their Dutch visitors were already assured of making the last 32 although with just a point between them, top spot was at stake in Group L.

Twice former European champions Porto, Roma and Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach were also later bidding to nail down a qualifying spot.

Two INEC Staff Bag 21 Years Each For Collecting Bribe

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A High Court sitting in Yola, Adamawa State capital has sentenced two Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff for collecting the sum of N362 million as bribe.

The two officials, Ibrahim Mohammed and Sahabo Iya-Hamman, were convicted on Thursday for collecting the said amount from the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, during the 2015 general elections.

The High Court presided by Justice Nathan Musa convicted the two officials and subsequently sentenced them to 21 years in prison on a three count charge.

While delivering judgement, Justice Musa said the evidence from the 15 witnesses presented by EFCC including the suspect’s testimonies proved their involvement beyond reasonable doubt.

The two officials were brought before the court by EFCC alongside Mrs Allison- Maduekwe (still at large) as the third defendant, under the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act 2000.

Justice Musa noted that out of the N362 million they collected, only five percent of the amount was shared among the INEC staff and they could not account for the balance as they claim that hoodlums attacked one of them and carted away part of the money.

This however, they could not be substantiated.

Following plea by their counsel for leniency, Justice Musa said the best that could do for them was that the seven years each for the three counts they were convicted would run concurrently.

The judge urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to liaise with the Interpol to arrest and present the third respondent (Diezani) to face her charges.

Court Orders Arrest of Diezani, Convicts Two INEC Staff Over N362m Bribe

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The Adamawa State High Court sitting in Yola has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, to liaise with the International Police Organization, INTERPOL, to arrest a former Minister Of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The former minister is among three defendants charged before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three counts for allegedly deploying over N362million derived from a $115m slush fund to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections in favour of the candidate of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The other defendants are Ibrahim Mohammed, the electoral officer in charge of Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State and Sahabo Iya-Hamman, a retired INEC staff and Adamawa State coordinator of West African Network of Election Observers (WANEO), during the 2015 presidential election.

Count two of the charge read, “That you, Ibrahim Mohammed Umar, Sahabo Iya Hamman and Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (now at large) sometime between March and May, 2015 at Yola, Adamawa State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, while being a public officer working with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and retired public servant and former Minister of Petroleum Resources (now at large) and in capacities, did corruptly procured monetary benefit of Three Hundred and Sixty-Two Million Naira, (N362,000,000.00) in favour of public officers and staff working with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Adamawa State, contrary to and punishable under Section 9 (1) (a) & (b) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act,  2000.”

The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Thereafter, Justice Nathan Musa granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N10m each and two sureties in like sum.

Read Also: Two INEC Staff Bag 21 Years Each For Collecting Bribe

After more than two years of trial in which the prosecution called several witnesses and tendered documents that were admitted in evidence, the Judge convicted Ibrahim Mohammed and Sahabo Iya-Hamman, to seven years imprisonment on each of the three counts for receiving a bribe of N362 million from the former Minister of Petroleum.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

In convicting the defendants, the Judge held that he was satisfied by the testimonies of the 15 witnesses who appeared before the court and other material evidence tendered by the prosecution.

He observed that though N362 million was received by the officials, they only shared five per cent of the money to other staff of the commission and could not account for the balance.

Court Invasion: Senate Investigates Action Of DSS Operatives

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The Senate has waded into the controversy surrounding the invasion of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

This comes one week after DSS operatives in at least three pickup trucks stormed the court on Friday last week in a bid to rearrest Mr Omoyele Sowore, barley 24 hours after he was released.

In the process, there was a scuffle as Sowore’s supporters staged a strong resistance after which his lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, stated that it was wrong to make an arrest in court.

Falana later drove Sowore in his vehicle to the DSS office where he was re-arrested and detained.

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