Saturday, February 26, 2011

Vehicles With Tint Glasses: FG Bars CJN, Ministers, Service Chiefs


Hafiz Ringim,Police IG

The Federal Government Thursday bared the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), ministers and service chiefs from using vehicles with tint glasses
Only the president, vice-president, senate president, deputy senate president, Speaker of the House of Representatives, deputy speaker and governors  are henceforth allowed to use vehicles with tint glasses.
It has therefore directed the Nigeria Police to enforce the law prohibiting use of tinted vehicles on Nigerian roads.
Minister of Police Affairs, Humphrey Abah, who made the pronouncement,  said  with effect from Monday ,February 28, 2011, owners of tinted glass  vehicles would be made to remove them by policemen on the spot, stressing that CAP M21, Motor vehicle prohibiting tinted glass Act, forbids use of heavily filmed cars.
He stated that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Road Traffic Service  personnel would assist the police to enforce the law, adding that  cars with factory-fitted tinted glasses are exempted from the directive.
The minister stated that only the President, his vice, governors, the Senate President, his deputy and majority leader as well as the Speaker, House of Representatives were permitted to use vehicles with tint glasses in the country.
Abah said  other individuals, including judges, top military and police officers , are not allowed by law to use tinted glasses on their cars and they should therefore remove them to avoid embarrassment.
 “All Commissioners of Police in all the states and the FCT are to ensure strict compliance to the law. By this announcement, all permits giving in respect of tinted glasses are hereby cancelled”, he said.
The minister further said that unauthorised use of siren will attract severe sanction as such vehicles would be confiscated, adding that owners of vehicles with foreign numbers have two weeks to register them or remove them from the road.
Also speaking, the FCT Police Commissioner, Mr. John Haruna, explained that his men had arrested and arraigned drivers of tinted cars, most of which belonged to highly placed people.
He said that the existing taskforce would be enlarged with personnel of the State Security Service, Civil Defence Corps, police and the military to enforce the ministerial directive.

Justice Salami queried again


JUSTICE Ayo Salami has again been quried by the Chairman, National Judicial Council, (NJC), Justice Alloysius Katsina –Alu over a statement made by the Appeal Court President.
The query centred on the statement that he trusted just a few of the Justices in his court for governorship election appeal cases.
A source in the NJC has also disclosed that Salami may get yet another query this week over two petitions from Osun and Ekiti states submitted with his alleged phone call logs in which he was accused of having dealings with chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and some of their lawyers “before, during and after “ the cases were heard by his court.
The latest query was issued to Justice Salami by the CJN on 17th February, 2011 giving him two weeks to respond to a second petition sent in by former Osun state governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
“ I forward herewith a petition dated 7th February, 2011 against you by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former governor, Osun state, on the above subject matter. The petition speaks for itself. I shall be glad to have your comments within two weeks of receipt of this letter, please,” the CJN said in the query with reference number NJC/F.2/CA.1/1/99.
The President of the Court of Appeal in an interview in Thisday newspaper of Tuesday January 25, 2011 disclosed that he had been using only those he trusted for governorship election appeal cases. He was quoted in the interview as saying : “then, he, (Senator Iyiola Omisore) raised the issue of using a few Justices to determine appeals. Well, when it comes to that, you must use people you trust, you can’t just empanel anybody.”
Osun and Ekiti chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party had repeatedly accused Salami of having “a special squad of nine Justices” who handled governorship election cases with Justices Clara Ogunbiyi appearing in Ekiti and Osun, C.C Nweze in Ekiti and Osun, Adamu Jauro in Ekiti, Osun and Ogun while M.L Garuba was in Osun and Ogun. Paul Galinge was also in Osun and Sokoto panels. There are over 60 Justices in the Court of Appeal.
Prince Oyinlola in the petition asserted that Justice Salami’s disclosure in the interview that he trusted only about nine of his over 50 colleagues confirmed his earlier petition that other considerations other than delivery of justice informed the actions of Justice Salami and the appeal panel in the handling of his case.
“My Lord, no doubt, the above statement could only mean one thing and, that is that, in constituting the Ogunbiyi panel that heard my case, other factors and considerations other than judicial fairness were at play in the mind of the President of the court. I urge, sir, that his open declaration that ” you must use people you trust.“deserve to be further examined with a view to knowing what he meant by trust and also, trust to do what? This is necessary because every member of the judiciary including the Appeal Court is deemed by virtue of his oath of office to be a person worthy of trust,” Oyinlola said.
Another area, among several others, Justice Salami will have to provide answers to is his comments on the osun judgement in which he claimed that not all the votes in the 10 local governments in contention were cancelled.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

10 SANs to Probe CJN, Salami Over Allegation of Corruption

Ekiti: Security agencies probe petition on Salami, others •We’ll make example of our accusers -Akintola •Purported call logs, a ruse -ACN •We have Salami’s call logs from Sept 2010 to Jan 2011 -PDP •Salami, Appeal Court justices fail to submit respon

IT was confirmed on Tuesday that the topmost echelons of the nation’s security had received details of the petition
sent in on the gubernatorial appeal case in Ekiti State and were already investigating the allegations contained therein, just as the lawyers alleged to have made telephone conversations with Justice Ayo Salami reacted sharply to the allegations.
Former governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, elected on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was removed from office on the basis of the ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, in October last year.
It was confirmed in Abuja that the petition had been received at the presidency and that the authorities had sent the petition to appropriate security outfits.
A source, who asked not to be named, said that the presidency did not want to comment on such issues and that immediately the petition came, it was referred to appropriate security outfits.
A source said that the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoye Azazi, had been asked to take a look at the document and act appropriately.
The petition had listed call logs made by senior lawyers to Justice Salami and other persons. But some of the lawyers mentioned in the petition, while reacting to the allegation, threatened to sue the petitioner and the newspaper that published the story.
When the Nigerian Tribune called Yusuf Alli (SAN) on 0803 334 0330, he said he had not seen the publication that contained the petition at the time he was called, adding that he would take legal action when he sees it, stressing that “people can’t just sit down somewhere to write rubbish against another person.
“People know me and they know my antecedents. They can vouch for me. I was lead counsel for PDP’s former governors, Oyinlola of Osun State and Olusegun Oni of Ekiti State. I won’t do what they said against my clients. I don’t do underhand dealings with anybody. I rejected ministerial appointments twice because of all these insinuations,” he said.
When the Nigerian Tribune also spoke with Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) on 0803 764 3770, he said the publication came as a surprise to him, just like some of his other colleagues, adding that he would surely take legal action against the newspaper that published the petition.
Akintola said he was not just a lawyer but a responsible and respected one at that and that it was crass ignorance to read meanings into conversation between a lawyer and the judge, saying that he had never spoken with a judge on any matter pending in court.
He said he met Justice Salami at a seminar held in Kaduna last August, explaining that the judge chaired the occasion. He added that he spoke with Justice Salami when the issue of resignation came up.
Akintola also said he was highly disappointed in former Governor Oni, adding that he never expected him to involve him or any lawyer in the petition.
“I have handled many cases. I was the lead counsel in the Abia State matter and I handled many other cases. Human memory is very short. I’m highly disappointed in Oni, if not other people. I was not even a counsel in the Osun matter. The records of the court speak well of the writer of the petition. They would be joking to think they can use mudslinging to get their cases reviewed.
“We are looking at the matter and it won’t be funny, because we will make example of all of them; the writer and the newspaper. All of us will take legal action against them. You can see how malicious people can be. I would have gone to the street to attack Oni, I only hope he would be able to defend himself, because we have a duty to protect the sanctity of the legal profession.
“We have no apology for standing for Salami. They can’t intimidate or scare us. All Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or profession, Oni inclusive, are free to seek our legal services. We won’t discriminate against anyone for anything, even the worst criminal. It will be unprofessional to discriminate,” he said.
I’m not involved -Tarfa
In his reaction, Mr Ricky Tarfa aid he was not involved in the case, adding that “the newspaper report is a baseless publication. I don’t know anything about the case in question.”
When asked how his phone number came up in the report, the senior advocate said “anybody can have anybody’s phone number, there is no big deal about that.”
I’m a retired civil servant -Abdulahi
However, the Ibrahim Abdulahi mentioned in the petition turned out to be a retired civil servant of 35 years meritorious service in Kwara State.
Pa Abdulahi, who called the Nigerian Tribune after the initial attempt to reach him was unsuccessful, said “I am not a politician. I am not a lawyer or advocate. Nothing concerned me with either the Osun or Ekiti State matter.”
Call logs, a ruse -ACN
Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that the purported MTN call logs insinuating a deal between the ACN chieftains, lawyers and Justice Salami, as contained in the petitions by Chief Oni and Osun PDP chieftain, Sunday Ojo-Williams, were a ruse and selective perception, designed to muddle the waters.
It, however, warned the PDP-led Federal Government not to throw Nigeria into an avoidable crisis over its desperation to reverse the Appeal Court judgments on the Ekiti and Osun governorship election petitions.
The party, in a statement issued in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Tuesday, by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the judgments in the cases were final, irrespective of what the ousted governors were being told by their advisers or the buttons they were pressing at the federal.
“We have the strength of character, the courage and the conviction to mount a sustained campaign in defence of justice, and in defence of our mandate. We will not surrender a mandate freely given to us by the people, which was evident in the massive jubilation that greeted the rulings of the appeal court in both Ekiti and Osun states,” the party stated.
It stated that if the petitioners and their sponsors wanted to really convince Nigerians about their allegations, they should be courageous enough to publish all the call logs of Justice Salami during the period in question, so that all can see all the calls that Justice Salami received during the period.
According to the ACN, the fact that Justice Salami was the president of the Court of Appeal did not mean he will not have a social life, or that people could no longer call him.
The party said despite the clandestine meetings in the highest echelon of the PDP and also involving some top officials of the Federal Government, the PDP could not re-write the Nigerian constitution, just because the rulings in those cases did not favour it.
The ACN, however, warned that should the PDP think it could re-open the cases and overturn the judgments, then it should be ready for an epic battle, the end of which no one could predict, and the consequences of which could only be imagined.
Responding to the publication, Chief Emeka Ngige said that the newspaper, Oni and the acting chairman of the PDP in Osun State, Chief Sunday Ojo-Williams, would meet him in court where they would have to justify what he called their wild allegations.
Ngige said he was not on the legal team in Ekiti or Osun State election petition appeal panels and, as such, could not have reached out to any judge on the appeals.
Osun PDP charges NJC
However, the Osun State PDP has charged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe the alleged response of Justice Salami that he was not bothered by the allegation raised linking him to telephone conservations with chieftains of the ACN and its lawyers, while the Osun and Ekiti state governorship appeal cases were ongoing.
The party, in a statement signed by its director of publicity, Mr Adeolu Adeyemo, said Salami’s alleged statement that he was not bothered about the allegation could be a tactical way of wanting to bury the matter and appealed to the NJC not to be bamboozled by the response but rather investigate it.
Reacting to the admission of culpability by ACN spokesman, who was named among others as being involved in the illegal phone deals with Justice Salami, the PDP said for the first time, the ACN had admitted that it was not averse to crooked means to get results.
“As for the challenge that we should publish the entire log of Justice Salami, we want to say that we have Justice Salami’s call logs from September 2010 to January 2011. We don’t mind publishing all for the world to see if only the ACN and Bola Tinubu will make pages available in their newspapers. If we publish it, we would have had to opportunity to show the whole world, as is clearly shown in the call logs we have submitted to the NJC that on November 16, 2010, Justice Salami (08034004887) exchanged text messages eight times at 4:34 a.m. with the ACN gubernatorial candidate in Kebbi State in the coming April elections, Turaki Kabiru Tanimu (08033120001)! What were they discussing even before morning prayers?” the PDP asked.
Also, the PDP asked security agencies to pick up chieftains of the ACN involved in the scandal.
Salami, 4 others yet to answer query
Meanwhile, the ultimatum given Justice Salami and four others to respond to query issued to them by the NJC expired at the close of work on Tuesday, without the NJC receiving any reactions from them.
The query, dated February 8, 2011, directed the affected jurists to respond within two weeks, the ultimatum which expired on Tuesday.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

How neighbour raped my daughter, narrates father of 5-year-old

IT is said that appearances, at times, could be very deceitful because one cannot know the intention of the next person, not even a person related by blood. Little wonder it has been agreed that one’s best friend could turn out to be his worst enemy. That was the situation with Yusseini Mohammed, a mobile policeman in Bauchi State who is still finding it difficult to believe that his neighbour that he once had confidence in, Mustapha, a herbalist, could be so heartless as to rape his five year old daughter in spite of the closeness between both families. They had lived together peacefully for years before the bizarre incident.
According to him, Mustapha looked harmless, not knowing that behind that harmless looking disposition was the devil incarnate. In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, Yusseini broke down and in between sobs, he said, “Each time I look at my daughter Hairatu, I cry. This is an innocent girl who used to go to Mustapha’s house to play with his children. How could a grown up man of over 40 years defile a small girl like that,” he said as the tears rolled down his cheeks.
Worst still, is the fear by Yusseini that with the way the case is dragging on, Mustapha might go scot-free after sexually assaulting his little daughter and taking away her innocence.
The worried father said, “All I want is justice. This man is sick.  He deserves to be in prison,”. He appealed for justice from the authorities involved in handling the case which he took to court in a bid to ensure that the accused paid for his crime and  that Mustapha be put behind bars.
Yussieni, a police constable, explained that since May 2010 last year, when his daughter was defiled by the herbalist in the Wuntin Dada area of Bauchi Metropolis where they live with Mustapha as neighbours, the case had been dragging on with no sign that he would get justice.
In an interview with newsmen in Bauchi, Yusseini lamented that the suspect, Mustapha, had sold his house and belongings and allegedly relocated while his whereabouts remain unknown few days after he committed the heinous crime.
According to Yussieni., “He was in court only twice and he is always being represented by his lawyer.  The case has been transferred from a Chief Magistrate Court to a High Court in Bauchi adding that, “On the 26th of this month, we will be at the High Court and I hope that Mustapha would be in court.”
He added that on the D-Day, the suspect was once again not in court and this time, the judge was very furious and ordered the lawyers to ensure that he is brought to court unfailingly on the 14th of February.
Will he show up? Has he suddenly disappeared into thin air? These are some of the questions that agitate Yusseini’s mind even as he disclosed to our correspondent that his wife is yet to recover from the shock of what happened to their daughter.
Yusseini was extremely disappointed that Mustapha was not in court for the eleventh time, expressing regret that somebody who could defile a five year old girl is still being allowed to roam the street freely.
Narrating his ordeal, the visibly traumatised father lamented: “I was with my neighbour when my wife called me on phone that something was amiss in my house. When I got home, I saw my daughter with blood in her private part, and she was crying. I asked her what happened and she told me that Baba Sani (Mustapha) removed her pant and did something to her.”
The aggrieved father also said that he reported the matter at the GRA police station and Mustapha was  arrested and instead of being remorseful and  regretful, Mustapha tried to talk him into settlement without involving the Police.
“He was pleading that we should settle but I refused. I told him to settle with the police.  The case was transferred to the State CID and he was detained but was later released on bail and since then, we have not set eyes on him".
“I was told that he had sold his house and left the area. We had to relocate from the area after what happened.”
Yusseini is appealing to the authorities to ensure that justice was done saying that his daughter suffered physical and psychological damage saying that, "She couldn’t eat and for so many days she was bleeding through the nose. I feel very bad about what happened to my daughter because it has affected her seriously.”
Efforts to get the accused did not succeed as he was said to have relocated. The Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Barau when contacted, said that since the case was before the court he could not make any comment about it but assured that the case would be followed to its logical conclusion based on the provisions of the relevant laws of the land


Reps probing Salami-CJN allegation – Bankole

ABUJA— SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole,  yesterday, affirmed that the House was investigating the allegation of corruption in the upper echelon of the Nigerian Judicial system.

The Speaker who made this known on the floor of the House after Hon. Igo Aguma, PDP, Rivers, raised a motion on his privileges as a Nigerian and a member of the House of Representatives, said: “I wish to inform the House that this morning, the Chairman, Committee on Judiciary, has informed me, that his committee is already looking into the matter. We should not at this level pre_empt the outcome. The House is looking into the Judiciary and what is going on there.”
In the motion, Aguma said that there had been accusations and counter accusations of allegation of corruption by the top segment of the Nigerian Judiciary. He said that no one was making any effort to verify the allegation made by the President of the Court of Appeal Justice Isa Salami that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Aloysius Katsina_Alu, directed him to manipulate the outcome of the Appeal case against the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Wamako.
Aguma said: “My privilege has been breached as a member of the House of Representatives who has sworn to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the accusation and counter accusation of corruption in the Nigerian Judicial system by very high ranking officers.
“We cannot as a parliament sit down and not ascertain the level of rot in the Judiciary. We must do something about these allegations.”
It will be recalled Justice Salami had recently generated national concern when he rejected promotion to become a Justice of the Supreme Court. He said the promotion was against his wish, and that it was an attempt by the CJN to victimise him because he had refused to be compromised in the Appeal case of Governor Wamako.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

$32b missing in Nigeria

•Fresh N31.9 billion scandal rocks NDDC
•EFCC, ICPC begin probe
MORE than $32 billion has been squandered in Nigeria since 1960 “without any evidence of how the money was spent”.
The above damning verdict came from one of the most influential newspapers in the United States (U.S.), the New York Times, which gave graphic details of how the economy of the most populous black nation has been mismanaged since its independence from Britain, more than 50 years ago.
The newspaper also said that despite Nigeria’s access to billions of dollars yearly in oil revenue, it is still a backward country.
Presenting a very disturbing scenario on why the country is not moving forward, the newspaper said the $32 billion was missing because of mismanagement, misapplication and corruption.
In the report entitled “Riches Flow Into Nigeria, But Are Lost After Arrival,” the Times’ West African correspondent, Adam Nossiter, said: “Some of the vast pile of cash, perhaps $5 billion to $8 billion, has been spent on so far unfruitful efforts to upgrade Nigeria’s feeble power output, which remains no better than that of a mid-size American city for a nation of over 150 million people and Africa’s most populous. But the rest, some $22 billion or more, remains largely unaccounted for. Nigeria, despite getting billions and billions in oil revenue, is still basically a backward country.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, for example, spent nearly $16 billion on power generation during his eight years in office yet, people don’t have electricity in Nigeria. Obasanjo’s $16 billion shares the same notoriety as Babangida’s (General Ibrahim) squandered $12.5 billion Gulf oil windfall.
“The question many ask is: why is it that despite all the billions that is being poured into the Niger Delta, no noticeable development has taken place in the region?

“What have the governors of the 36 states done with their Excess Crude Account that they have drawn down from $30 billion to almost nothing? Basically, about $350 million left. “Most of the remaining $22 billion was drawn down by state governments without any particular projects to spend it on, just on the basis of, there’s money sitting in the accounts, let’s draw it down.

“It’s basically free money, once you get it, there are no checks and balances on what happens to it.”
Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is facing a probe over alleged N31.9 billion fraud, even as an investigation into illegal transfer of $20 million, by management of the interventionist agency, in an offshore bank account, is still on.
The Nigerian Compass learnt that the probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), was triggered by a petition written by Ifeanyi Nrialike & Co, an Abuja-based legal firm, on behalf of the Niger Delta Justice and Mass Movement (NDJMM), a pressure group in the oil rich Niger Delta region.
In a letter to the Chairman of the EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, dated January 25, 2011, the petitioners alleged that the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwuoha, recently awarded a N27 billion consultancy contract to a Port Harcourt-based firm (name withheld), for the provision of consultancy service for the studies and design of the East-West coastal road for which he made an advance payment of N4,451,452,375 billion, without recourse to due process.
The contract was allegedly awarded and advance payment made in October last year without the involvement of the Bureau of Public Procurement, after a new generation bank was said to have offered to guarantee the contractor in a letter to the NDDC CEO dated October 13, 2010.
The petitioners, however, alleged that the same East-West coastal road contract is on the tenders list advertised last year by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, based on a directive by the Federal Government that the NDDC hand over the project to the Niger Delta ministry.
“It is of a fact that in April 2009, President Goodluck Jonathan, then as Vice President, while declaring open the 1st South-South Economic Summit, had announced government’s directive that the project be handled by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs,” the petitioners said.
It was further alleged that the NDDC Managing Director awarded a N4.9 billion contract for the completion of the defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) head office complex in Port Harcourt, which is to serve as the permanent headquarters of the NDDC, and released a 15 per cent mobilisation fee since early last year, without achieving a remarkable progress.
The petitioners also urged the EFCC to probe the alleged illegal transfer of $20million by the NDDC boss from the commission’s offshore account with Union Bank (UK) to First Bank (UK), as well as reports of a forged resolution of the agency’s Governing Board in which conflicting dates with respect to the dissolution and constitution of the second and third Boards were given in the process of effecting the account transfer.
The petition reads in part: “We wish to draw your attention to a query dated December 3, 2010, with Ref. SGF/55/5.2/V111/247, issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the Managing Director/CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission on the said unlawful and illegal transfer of the account from the Union Bank (UK) to First Bank (UK). The SGF issued the query to Ugwouha, after a recommendation by the commission’s Governing Board, which had earlier suspended two top officials who allegedly collaborated with him to perpetrate the illegal act.”
To underscore the determination to pursue the case to its logical conclusion, counsel to the petitioners gave the EFCC a two-week ultimatum, within which to take appropriate steps on the complaint.
“Take notice, that 14 days after the receipt of this petition, and it is not positively treated, our services have been further retained to take such legitimate actions to compel the investigation of Mr. Chibuzor Ugwouha,” the legal firm stated.
Copies of the petition in possession of our correspondent were sent to President Goodluck Jonathan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, National Security Adviser, Inspector General of Police, Attorney-General of the Federation; Chairman, ICPC; DG, State Security Services, and the DG, Bureau of Public Procurement.
ICPC’s Head of Public Enlightenment, Mr. Mike Sowe, confirmed receipt of the petition.
“We received a copy of the petition sent to the EFCC,” he said. “But we’re leaving the investigation to the EFCC for now.”
EFCC spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said that he would comment on the matter “when the time comes.”
In his reaction, the Special Assistant to Ugwuoha on Media, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo, described the allegation as “a re-invention of a dead story.” He said it was good the EFCC had been brought into the issue.
Arguing that those behind the allegation were only trying to build a case, Ogbodo said: “I have nothing much to say on those wild allegations. If the design of the East-West coastal road, which is almost 100 per cent completed, and somebody is now saying that the contract has been re-awarded, then, it is a good thing the EFCC is coming into the matter. Let them investigate and see. That is all I will say.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Are you Depressed????

There is no better yesterday, it is what you make of today. Make a good use of your time, you will be happy for each day. Are you depressed by circumstances of life? Do you feel everybody deserted you? Do not feel bad, only your best friends will remain when you are passing through hard time. But, have you ever try to reason that without a gold passing through fire it can not refine? What you see as your hard time is actually the time God processes you for better things, and He will permit only you and those that will help you achive it to be present. That is why feel deserted. In the factory of God, only you and the staff who are professionals are allowed in to do  a good job. Be bold, hold your head high and make a good use of each moment.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Don't worry, asteroid won't hit Earth ... oh wait!

NASA sees little risk of Apophis smacking into us; Russian experts disagree

In 2004, NASA scientists announced that there was a chance that Apophis, an asteroid larger than two football fields, could smash into Earth in 2029. A few additional observations and some number-crunching later, astronomers noted that the chance of the planet-killer hitting Earth in 2029 was nearly zilch.
Now, reports out of Russia say that scientists there estimate Apophis will collide with Earth on April 13, 2036. These reports conflict on the probability of such a doomsday event, but the question remains: How scared should we be?
“Technically, they’re correct, there is a chance in 2036 (that Apophis will hit Earth)," said Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office. However, that chance is just 1-in-250,000, Yeomans said.
The Russian scientists are basing their predictions of a collision on the chance that the 900-foot-long Apophis will travel through what’s called a gravitational keyhole as it passes by Earth in 2029. The gravitational keyhole they mention is a precise region in space, only slightly larger than the asteroid itself, in which the effect of Earth's gravity is such that it could tweak Apophis' path.
“The situation is that in 2029, April 13, (Apophis) flies very close to the Earth, within five Earth radii, so that will be quite an event, but we’ve already ruled out the possibility of it hitting at that time,” Yeomans told Life’s Little Mysteries. “On the other hand, if it goes through what we call a keyhole during that close Earth approach … then it will indeed be perturbed just right so that it will come back and smack Earth on April 13, 2036,” Yeomans said.
The chances of the asteroid going through the keyhole, which is tiny compared to the asteroid, are “minuscule,” Yeomans added.
The more likely scenario is this: Apophis will make a fairly close approach to Earth in late 2012 and early 2013, and will be extensively observed with ground-based optical telescopes and radar systems. If it seems to be heading on a destructive path, NASA will devise the scheme and machinery necessary to change the asteroid’s orbit, decreasing the probability of a collision in 2036 to zero, Yeomans said.
There are several ways to change an asteroid’s orbit, the simplest of which is to run a spacecraft into the hurtling rock. This technology was used on July 4, 2005, when Deep Impact smashed into the comet Tempel

Rumble in the Bench: You can’t push me out of Appeal Court


…Salami, court president, tells Chief Justice
By Jide Ajani, Editor, Northern Operations& Innocent Anaba
The nation’s Bench appears to be rumbling after the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, rejected his promotion to the Supreme Court by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.
Justice Isa Ayo-Salami
Salami insinuated an “unholy move” to push him out of the Appeal Court, saying he preferred to remain in the “Court of Appeal to continue to give service to the nation to the best of my ability”. He also spoke of the presumption to replace him with the CJN’s minion or stooge, warning  Katsina-Alu against creating  a “dangerous precedent which may give rise to chained reactions”.
The Court of Appeal president’s rejection of his promotion to the Supreme Court which, according to him, “has no precedent in our legal history”, is contained in a letter to the CJN, dated 4 February 2011.
A Federal Judicial Service Commission source lent credence, yesterday, to Salami’s action, saying that the process of his elevation was irregular, hinting that a meeting of the Commission slated for Wednesday may discuss the issue.
The Appeal Court president’s letter to the CJN reads: “A few months ago, I heard of rumours going round that plans have been hatched in certain quarters to remove me from the post of President of the Court of Appeal. My reaction then was to dismiss these rumours as the talk shop gossip emanating from idle gossipers or mischief makers.
“Regretfully enough a few days ago, precisely on 2nd February, 2011 when I returned to Abuja from Ilorin where I had gone to attend the 8th day Fidau prayer of an aunt, information got to me that at the meeting of the Federal Judicial Service Commission held on 1st and 2nd February 2011, what was thought to be a rumour became a subject of serious discussion initiated by the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“I was given to understand that even though the subject was not part of the agenda of the day, Your Lordship characteristically informed honourable members of the Council of your proposal to strengthen the Supreme Court by moving me to the Court and presumably to replace with your minion or stooge. It was sadly not deemed fit and proper to discuss the proposal with me.
Perhaps, my view did not count for anything. Neither was it expedient or decorous to place such an important matter on the agenda. No council paper was substituted.
“Interestingly, however, it was alleged that in giving reasons for this disturbing action, the CJN said that the appointment would add value to the Supreme Court. He further assured Council members that I would not lose my seniority. I regret to say that I am not taken in.
I am contented with being the President of the Court of Appeal. Indeed it is common knowledge that I had even in a more auspicious moment, declined for good reasons to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Nothing has changed since then. I prefer to remain in the Court of Appeal to continue to give service to the nation to the best of my ability.
“Finally, I prefer to follow in the wake of my worthy predecessors who inspite of their experiences retired as President of the Court of Appeal with their honour and reputation unsullied. The present unholy move to push me out of the Court of Appeal for whatever reason has no precedent in our legal history. I do not therefore think that it will be fair for the Chief Justice of Nigeria to seek to create a dangerous precedent which may give rise to chained reactions.
“Needless to say that the environment is already over heated and in a state of flux. Let no one do anything to disrupt the status quo. Nigeria is after all greater than all of us.
“I remain loyal and committed to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the oath of my office.”
Alleged Irregularity
Meanwhile, a source close to the Council of the  Federal Judicial Service Commission, told Sunday Vanguard that the process of elevating Salami was entirely irregular, even as a meeting of the Council slated for Wednesday may put the issue on the agenda.
According to the source, the Salami issue  was not even listed on the agenda of the meetings of  February 1 and 2, 2011, where it was brought up by the CJN.
The source added that, like any elevation of such nature, the candidate’s name must be forwarded to the Federal Judicial Service Commission, which would screen the candidate, but that in the case of the Appeal Court president, nothing of such happened, vowing that the move would be resisted.
“It is like awarding the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria to a person, who, not only did not apply, but was also not screened. We will certainly oppose the move,” the source added.
Cordial Relationship
Sunday Vanguard learnt that although there are vacancies at the Supreme Court, the appointments ought to come from other geopolitical zones other than the north central where Salami hails from.
A source alleged that the Appeal Court president does not enjoy a cordial relationship with Katsina_Alu notwithstanding that both were said to be classmates at the law school.
Salami and Katsina_Alu were said to have parted ways when Salami constituted a panel to hear  an appeal from the Sokoto governorship election tribunal. The appeal panel had reportedly prepared a judgment which would have removed the incumbent governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Wamako.
The intervention of some justices of the Supreme Court reportedly settled the disagreement between the two.
It was also under Salami’s watch that two Peoples Democratic Party’s governors, Olusegun Oni and Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Ekiti and Osun State s respectively were removed by the Appeal Court.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Former INEC chairman, Abel Guobadia dies at 78

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Former Chairman of the Indepen
A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Dr. Abel Guobadia, is dead.

The news of his death spread nationwide, just as prominent Nigerians gathered in Uromi, Edo State, to attend the funeral of another prominent Nigerian and nationalist, Chief Anthony Enahoro, who died late last year.

Mr. Chris Guobadia, younger brother of the deceased, told SATURDAY PUNCH in Benin City that the former INEC boss died on Friday morning in an undisclosed hospital after a brief illness. He would have been 79 in June this year.

The younger Guobadia did not give further details of the circumstances that led to the death of the former boss of INEC.

In his reaction to the event, the governor of Edo State Adams Oshiomhole, described Guobadia’s death as a big loss to the nation.

In a statement that was presented on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria, Oshiomhole said, “The death of Chief Guobadia is a sad loss. He was one of Nigeria’s senior citizens of outstanding worth. His death is even more painful as we still mourn the passage of another great Edo son, Chief Anthony Enahoro.

“We recall that he did creditably well at INEC and remains till date, the only electoral chief in the country to have completely served out his tenure. We will always remember him for his forthrightness and incisive contributions to national issues. While we commiserate with his immediate family, we pray God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.”

Until his death, Guobadia was an Officer of the Federal Republic and had served at different times as a diplomat, administrator, educationist, and civil servant.

Born in 1932, he was educated at the University College, Ibadan and the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, USA, where he was awarded a doctorate degree in Solid State Physics in 1966.

Guobadia worked with the National Universities Commission between the 1970s and early 1980s and rose to the position of Director of Academic Planning and subsequently, Executive Secretary of the Commission. In 1984, he was appointed the Commissioner of Education in the old Bendel State and three years later, he became Nigeria’s first resident Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Korea.

But the string of appointments to sensitive public positions did not stop. In 2000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Guobadia Nigeria’s Chief Electoral Officer to succeed Justice Ephraim Akpata. Shortly afterwards, he was confirmed as the chairman of INEC by the Senate in May 2000.

Guobadia retired from this position in May 2005 and thus became the first chairman of the electoral commission since independence in 1960 to complete his tenure in office, which many Nigerians believe was largely mired in controversy.

Guobadia will be remembered for leaving behind a legacy of ICT-powered elections in Nigeria. He was the one who, as INEC chairman in 2002, introduced the nation’s first electronic voter register. One of his earliest achievements at the helm of affairs of the electoral body was the establishment of its ICT department, which is today the largest in INEC.

How Nigeria blackmailed UK over Ibori- Wikileaks

The London Telegraph reported yesterday how the Yar’Adua administration opted out of a prisoner transfer agreement with Britain unless the Crown Prosecution Service dropped charges against ex-Governor James Ibori of Delta State. Chief Ibori is accused of laundering more than 196 million Pounds public funds in Britain.
The agreement would have allowed Britain deport more than 400 of the 1,000 Nigerian prisoners in Britain. But the talks were aborted after Britain refused to cooperate with Nigeria.
Wikileaks quoting a diplomatic cable from the US embassy in London said:
“Nigerian Attorney General (AG) Michael Aondoakaa has directly told the UK the “Government of Nigeria] will not begin negotiations on the PTA unless the UK drops its case against former Delta State Governor James Ibori and his associates”.
The Telegraph said even after Britain offered to build a state-of-the-art new prison in Nigeria in return for the transfer of at least 400 Nigerian inmates, the offer was rejected.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought 170 corruption charges against Mr Ibori in December 2007, but a court in Asaba cleared him in 2009, saying there was no clear evidence on which to convict.
Southwark Crown Court froze UK assets of £17m allegedly belonging to Mr Ibori after the EFCC passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Mr Ibori, who denies all charges against him, was arrested in Dubai last May after the intervention of the global police agency Interpol.
Dubai’s highest court has ruled in December he could be extradited to Britain to face corruption charges.


Discovered Ming vase will make retired factory worker wealthy


It's the dream of any antique collector: You impulsively spend a few bucks on a trinket at an estate sale or an antiques store, and later discover that it's worth more than what you paid for it. Much more.
And that's pretty much the dream that came true for a 79-year-old British retired worker from the Cadbury chocolate factory, who recently walked into an auction house with a near-perfect Ming vase in a cardboard box.
It's unknown how the man, who wanted the press to refrain from publishing his name, came into possession of the rare vase, but staffers at Duke's—the Dorchester auction house that took it in—were astounded by the "spectacular find."
"When my colleague initially showed me what had arrived in a cardboard box I could not believe my eyes," Guy Schwinge of Duke's told the Guardian. "The vase is in perfect condition, and it is amazing to think that it has survived unscathed for almost six hundred years."
The BBC reported that the vase, which stands 11.5 inches tall, is the largest ever found of a rare group of early Ming "moonflasks" whose production dates somewhere between the years 1403 and 1424. That means it was manufactured during the reign of an emperor named Yongle; its distinctive features—such as the small loop handles—appear to be influenced by Islamic design.
Because the vase originates from China but shows the influence of Middle Eastern craftsmanship, auctioneers at Duke's expect the vase to draw the bids of wealthy collectors from both Asian and the Arab worlds. The auction is scheduled for May, and the item is expected to fetch at least a million pounds, or roughly $1.6 million U.S. dollars.

Jackson County woman arrested over attempted castration

Police say a Jackson County woman threatened to castrate a man for visiting strip clubs.
Maria E. Casarez, 39, of Brockway told authorities she only was trying to scare the man during the Jan. 14 incident.
The couple was becoming intimate when Casarez produced a pocketknife and held it to the man’s genitals, according to the criminal complaint. He knocked the knife away and pushed her to the bed.
Casarez told authorities the couple had relationship problems and she was upset by his visits to strip clubs. She said she didn’t feel he was properly addressing her concerns, so she wanted to scare him, according to the complaint.
A breath test shortly after the incident measured Casarez’s blood-alcohol level at 0.125 percent.
She is charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon in a domestic abuse situation.
Casarez was released on a $300 cash bond.

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