EPIA set to offer free legal services for rape victims

Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA), known as Edo Indigenous movement said modality has been put in place in providing free legal services to rape and domestic violence victims in Edo State as well as seeking justice against the perpetuators of the act in the State.

This was contained in a release made available by the Edo Indigenous Publicity and Research Committee (EIPRC). The movement strongly condemned the rising cases of rape and domestic violence in the State and called on the state government led by Governor Godwin Obaseki to brief Edo Indigenes on the measures or actions currently in place by his administration to put an end to curtail the spread of the menacs.

The movement condemned the rape and murder of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, in a Church in Benin City, Nigeria, and called on the Police to fish out perpetrators of the act.

“Authorities in Nigeria have not done enough to combat sexual violence. The method the state has been using over the years, clearly has not moved with the intensity required to deter rapists and potential rapists and to protect women and girls. EPIA is going to do everything possible to upturn this ugly trend”, the release said.

“Gang-rape is now a common problem in Nigeria with most cases affecting the poor socio-economic class. It is on increase in Edo State. Gang rape cases in the state has created so much negative impact on the legal outcome.

“There is a need to provide a holistic support to the victims and to review Nigerian laws on sexual offences for the good of all. This is why we are offering free pro bono to victims and seek legal action against perpetrators”, the release said.

EPIA appoints Engr. Barry Igbeare as Acting Diaspora Coordinator General

Edo Progressive Indigenous Association (EPIA), also known as Edo Indigenous Movement (EIM), has confirmed the appointment of Engr. Barry A.O. Igbeare as the association’s Acting Diaspora Coordinator General.

This was contained in a letter signed by the President and Founder of EPIA- Chief Dr. Bishop J.O. Enoyiogiere Edokpolo. The letter spelt out the following responsibilities of Engr. Igbeare to include coordinating, uniting, empowering, meeting, promoting, and putting the interest of all Edo indigenous people first at all times.

Other responsibilities include holding of Diaspora meetings with all coordinators and committee Chairmen in Diaspora ones in 6 months.

On his part, Engr. Igbeare thanked EPIA for appointing his as Diaspora Coordinator General and promised to do his best in achieving the aims and objectives of EPIA.

“I look forward to working with all of you to promote the interests of Edo Peoples all across the world. As a businessman specialized in International Real Estate & Certified Property Specialist, Retail and Agriculture, I have been residing for decades in Europe, particularly in Italy.

This long standing residence abroad has given me a vantage position to interact with and offer my help to our people who are trying to find jobs and get their papers of stay in a foreign land.

“In a private capacity, I hope to continue offering such help and will also strive to see how we can all pull our resources together in EPIA to improve the lot of Edo people everywhere in the worlds”, Engr. Igbeare said.

Civic memberships and community involvement of Engr. Igbeare among global leadership roles and resumes include:

Member, European Forum for Immigrants in Brussels.
Member, European Council on Immigration, Euro Parliament, Brussels.
Member, Italian National Council on Immigration, Rome.
Member, Regional Council on Immigration, Emigration for European Political Service and International Public Relations. Region Emilia Romagna, Italy.
Member of FIMEC (Italian Federation of Credit Brokers).
Member if FIAIP (Italian Federation Professional Real Estate Agents).
Co-Founder, Edo National Elders Council, Italy.
Ex National President of National Union of Nigerian Associations in Italy.
Member of certified International Property Specialist, USA.
And many more.

Member Regional Council on Immigration, Emigration for European Political service & International Public Relation. Region Emilia Romagna Italy.
Member of FIMEC (Italian Federation of Credit Brokers).
Member of FIAIP (Italian Federation Professional Real Estate Agents)
Member of National Association of Realtors U.S.A.

Member of Certified International Property Specialist U.S.A.
Ex National President of National Union of Nigerian Associations in Italy.

Vice President Friends of Nigeria International Association Committee composed of 48 mixed members of Italian Parliamentarians Rome Italy.
Ex Vice President Italian Nigerian Chamber of Commerce Milano Italy
Co-Founder of the Organization of Nigerians in Diaspora Europe- Italy
Co-Founder of Edo National Association in Italy.
Co-Founder Edo National Elders Council Italy.

PHOTOS: Prince Lawrence Ezeh congratulates Chief Dan Orbih, as he assumes office as PDP National Vice-Chairman, South-South

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Enugu State Chapter, Engineer Lawrence Ezeh has congratulated the new National Vice-Chairman of the PDP, after he assumed office earlier today in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Ezeh, who contested in the 2019 Senatorial elections for Enugu East, was present at the party secretariat, where he expressed hope that the party will take over leadership in the country.

Congratulating the new South South boss of the party, Ezeh said his capable leadership of the party in Edo State led to the weakening and eventual splitting of the opposition party in the state.

He also expressed optimism that the party will grow, not just in the geopolitical zone, but across the country as a result of Orbih’s fighting spirit.

Those in attendance include the Akwa Ibom and Cross River states Chairmen of the party, as well as numerous other stakeholders in the zone.

You have 7 days to unseal properties wrongfully sealed, Abia State Govt tells EFCC

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, in Abia State, Uche Ihediwa, Esq has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seven days to unseal some properties it sealed in the state.

Listing the properties, the Attorney General said the Commission shot itself in the foot in the exercise, having investigated some of the properties in the past and found them satisfactory.

A statement to that effect, made available to Jungle Journalist Media Ltd says:

“Some few days ago, the EFCC in brazen disregard of the regulatory, enforcement and investigative provisions of the law establishing the Commission purported to mark and seal assets and/or properties of the Abia State in various locations in the State Capital, Umuahia under the guise that these assets and/or properties were under investigation. These properties are –

1. The Abia Mall
2. 2. The Housing Estate at Adelabu Street, Umuahia
3. 3. The former Township main market at Ogwumabiri
4. 4. The Millennium Luxury Apartments, Umuahia
5. 5. Abia Hotels
6. 6. Linto Estate, Old Timber Shed

“In 2016, the same Commission, EFCC, investigated the ownership of most of these properties. The Certificates of Occupancy and Public Private Partnership Agreements between the State Government and Investors in respect of the properties were duly submitted or tendered before the Commission at the time, which documents the Commission found satisfactory.

“It is pertinent to note that the properties listed above belong to the Abia State Government and are not under investigation by the EFCC.

“Abia State Government duly entered into arrangements with credible investors for the development of these properties under Public Private Partnerships, which means that the reversionary interests in these properties still reside in the State Government.

“Sections 28 and 29 (a) of the law establishing the Commission, ie, the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act, Cap E1, LFN 2004 makes it clear that the Commission can only attach or seal the properties of persons arrested for an offence under the Act. As noted earlier in this briefing, ownership of the propertied by the Abia State Government is not subject of any EFCC investigation.

“With particular reference to the Housing Estate at Adelabu Street, the estate was initially to be developed by investors under Public Private Partnership arrangements but later terminated for non performance by the developers/investors. The Adelabu estate under my watch as Commissioner for Housing was later built with direct labor by the Housing Ministry with the approval of the State Government. The houses in the estate, on completion were allocated to individuals who paid for the allocations and continue to pay ground rents to the State Government.

“Also the Abia Mall is in receivership as a result of the failure of the investor to pay back bank facilities. Had the Commission done a due diligence check, it would have unearthed this fact without shooting itself on the foot.

“The unwarranted and unlawful actions of the EFCC has fine incalculable harm to the economy of the State by scaring away high profile investors from the State. This also sends a negative signal to investors planning to invest in Nigeria.

“In the light of the foregoing, the EFCC is hereby given Seven (7) days from today to remove the offensive and provocative notices placed on the above listed properties or estates. The EFCC must tender an apology to the Abia State Government within the same period.

“Failure to comply with these demands will leave the State Government with no option but to seek appropriate redress in a court of law.

Thank you.

Uche Ihediwa, Esq
Honorable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Abia State.

Infrastructure Collapse: Enugu’s Gov Ugwuanyi advised to constitute inspection team

An Enugu based social activist and the ADC House of Assembly (Nkanu East Constituency) Candidate 2019: Hon. David C Ani has urged the Enugu State Government led by H.E Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to as a matter of urgency form an Independent Project Inspection team that will monitor infrastructural projects going on in the state to ensure compliance to standards by contractors.

Ani made this call in a Press Release he sighed anf sent to Jungle Journalist Media Ltd following the collapse of Emene -Abakpa newly constructed road.

He recounted that many roads constructed by this administration have pot holes already, due to the projects being executed by amateur contractors who were awarded such contracts as a means of settlement and as such uses inferior materials in the construction of these roads.

“Poor monitoring; little or no supervision and inspection while constructing these roads is what gave rise to all these deplorable conditions we find our roads, or how do we explain that a road that was commissioned two months ago has massive port holes”, he stated.

He added that the Governor should appoint a team from the opposition that will adequately work without sentiment and would be strict in enforcing zero tolerance in their service delivery.

Hon David C Ani who has been firing missiles at the state government for weeks now, argued that “Enugu State belong to all of us and we will not allow it to collapse under anybody.”

“Where the Governor does well, we will commend and encourage him to do more. And where he doesn’t, we draw his attention to it and urge him to do the needful.

He also emphasized on how committed his team, Nigeria Youth Advocacy for Good Governance Initiative (NYAGGI) are willing to support and encourage good governance in Enugu State and added that the team shall embark on an acountability tour to various Ministries in State starting from July 2020.

India bans TikTok, 58 other Chinese apps amidst spy concerns

TikTok has been banned in India, along with 58 other mostly Chinese apps, as tensions between the two countries continue.

TikTok, which is developed by Chinese company Bytedance, allows users to share short videos which are generally set to music. It has regularly denied allegations about its relationship with the Chinese government, publishing a blog post late last year in which it said its data centres are kept outside of China and that it is not subject to Chinese data law.

The Indian government has now said that it would block the app – along with 58 others, including Alibaba’s UC Browser and Tencent’s WeChat, as well as games such as Clash of Kings.

The 59 blocked apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”, the Ministry of Information Technology said.

It said that some of the apps had been found to be “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”, though it did not explicitly reference any particular apps or specific data practices that had led to the ban.

TikTok says it will stop snooping on people’s clipboards
It described such data use as “a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures”, in an official statement that said such a ban was made possible under India’s Information Technology Act.

Members of the public had also voiced concern about the way certain apps use the data they collect, the ministry claimed.

The ministry also noted that India was looking to become “a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space”.

The ban comes after a deadly border conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations earlier this month in which 20 Indian soldiers have died.

The government announcement made no reference to those tensions or to the fact that most of the apps had been developed in China.

The statement gave no indication of how such a block would be put in place. Recent attempts by governments to completely ban certain apps – such as Russia’s sanctions on Telegram – have seen users largely able to get around the bans, while at the same time causing disruption to the underlying infrastructure of the internet.

The full list of 59 apps can be found on the official government website.

Last year, TikTok was briefly banned in India over concerns that it was being used to distribute pornography. The ban was lifted weeks later and TikTok has since been publicly available until now.

When the ban was lifted, TikTok celebrated by launching a campaign called #ReturnofTikTok and posted a blog post claiming that in India it had “over 200 million users and counting”.

Earlier this month, Google banned an app called “Remove China Apps” from its online store. The tool – which scanned the phone for any apps developed in China, including TikTok, and deleted them – has been reported to have been downloaded more than five million times in the short period it was available.

The movement to delete Chinese apps amid the ongoing tensions between the two countries had been supported by citizens on social media, as well as a spokesperson for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party.

EU bans Nigerians, Americans, others from entering Europe from July 1

Ahead of the planned reopening of its borders to international travellers on July 1, the European Union Commission has released a list of 54 countries that qualify for travels into Europe and Nigeria is conspicuously absent.

According to the report, the countries whose citizens have been granted permits into Europe as the union open its borders that were shut to curb the spread of COVID-19, include Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bahamas, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Canada.

Others listed are Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon and Mauritius.

BREAKING: FG reopens schools for some students, lifts ban on inter-state movement •Airports also set to reopen

The Federal Government this Monday evening, June 29, 2020, announced the reopening of schools as part of modifications to the COVID-19 lockdown, the phase two of which it extended for another 30 days.

The resumption is, however, limited to graduating JSS 3 and SSS 3 preparing to write their final examinations.

Chairman of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF), Boss Mustapha, announced this during today’s briefing by the Task Force in Abuja.

He also announced the lifting of the ban on inter-state movement but excluding the curfew period of 10pm – 4am.

We must rally round Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu – Tinubu

*praises Oshiomhole’s equanimity, loyalty to party and President

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has joined the President in calling for broad support for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the party’s candidate for the Edo Governorship election in September.

He made this known in a statement released today in reaction to the National Executive Committee [NEC] meeting held earlier this week in Abuja where President Muhammadu Buhari’s recommendation for the Edo Primaries to be ratified was unanimously accepted by the leaders of the party.

“In Edo, we must rally round our candidate Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu,” Asiwaju Tinubu said in the statement where he also urged party members to put differences behind and “recommit selves to the ideals and principles on which the APC was founded.”

He said: “We have governorship elections around the corner in Edo and a primary and elections in Ondo. On these important events, we must concentrate our immediate energies. In the longer run, we must restore the collegial nature to the party so that it should be in the practice of coming to support the President instead of him having to rescue the party from itself.”

“In Edo, we must rally round our candidate Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. In this, Comrade Oshiomhole has a crucial role to play.”

Asiwaju Tinubu who disclosed that he is presently focused on important national issues centered on the formulation of policies to help Nigeria navigate its way out of the rude economic consequences of COVID—9, also praised Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for what he described as his equanimity and loyalty to the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari.

COVID-19: Time for govt to stop treating private varsities like orphans

By Ikenna Emewu

Dr. Ihechukwu Madubuike, former education minister told me the story of how the government of Shehu Shagari he served enacted law to birth private universities in about 1980.

This was later abrogated by the military junta of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari after it got power by robbery in December 1983.

However, after the return of the law to create private higher institutions, the Igbinedion University in 1999 came to the scene as the first this time. So we have been at home with private universities, polytechnic and colleges of education in the past 21 years.

These institutions, some 78 private universities, over 40 polytechnics and about 26 colleges of education owned by private Nigerians have not received very welcome treatment by the regulators and other agencies that supervise the smooth operation of Nigerian higher institutions. Beyond the issuance of operation licence and supervision of standards, the government of Nigeria looks away from the welfare of these institutions.

I am of the strong opinion that that is not friendly and to a large extent counterproductive. The private institutions are part of the society and our body of education sector just as all private banks, factories, healthcare facilities etc.

Whereas they are there for business, I think the government is not fair to deny them of every incentive it accords the public counterparts even when they also render services to the country.

The Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund) of the federal government has since inception closed a huge gap in funding and equipping public tertiary institutions – federal and state. This is a federal agency that has done well for the system and future of the country and doesn’t create divisions between the state owned and federal owned institutions even when the states are autonomous tier of government that runs its budgets and education policies, pays workers, places their fees etc. That is commendable as TETFund provides them amenities, research grants and other supports including teachers training and courses equally.

But why is the private school treated like an orphan? It is just bad that even private primary and secondary schools go through the same rejection at the state levels as if they are of no consequence to the society.

Truly, these private schools also play a great role in easing the burden of pressure of admission into the public institutions. Let’s leave aside the profits they make, but we can’t rule out some element of public benefit they also offer. No matter what parents pay to have their children pass through them, the human resource they provide for the country is for common good.

When a factory or manufacturing outfit comes on board, on paper at least, most of them depending on the sector they belong to, enjoy some government incentives, tax grace and other little encouragements. Let’s leave out the operability of these incentives, but they exist.

In the financial sector, the central bank provides support to commercial banks that make most profit among all private sector establishments. Many of them have been pulled back from the brink by the intervention of the central bank and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) The insurance commission does the same for insurance companies as the Securities and Exchange Commission provides support to stock brokerage firms etc.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) provides support to the companies under its regulation for better operation and results. Even the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is not left out in this.

So, why is the education sector totally different, or is this still our old tradition of making light of the importance of education in Nigeria?

It would not be a bad idea or any loss if the TETFund devotes even 5 percent of its budget to support the private universities, polytechnics and colleges of education and find a way of scheduling it to go round.

However, even if provision of infrastructure is out of reach, why would the lecturers in these private universities be excluded from research grants and other supports for trainings and capacity improvement when the same government and society require them to have quality manpower?

These institutions can only produce quality graduates with quality manpower to groom them. Regarding physical infrastructure, since they are also part of the requirements for accreditation and sustenance of their programmes, why deny them of any semblance of support?

I was moved to look closely at these issues after TETFund on about June 20 published the availability of its 2020 national research grants and specified it is for public institutions or universities. Why the exclusion?

In the global crises of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of rules by the government are relaxed to give support to organs, agencies, sectors and organisations that form part of the larger society to assist them survive.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been announcing a lot of interest-free loans and other facilities to the SMEs and even individuals as palliatives this precarious time.

Few days ago, 17 commercial banks wrote the CBN to apply for the rescheduling of 32,000 loans to companies and individuals as palliatives.

I am yet to hear of any palliative the TETFund and Federal Ministry of Education have for any institutions, especially and including the private ones? How then would they cope with the existing vagaries without such institutional support?

At last, TETFund mandated public institutions to go ahead and acquire healthcare facilities in their domains as one of the conditions for reopening in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The mandate directs that if any of the institutions makes arrangements to provide such as soon as possible, TETFund would refund the cost later. And no mention of the private schools again. That is not fair. We need to rethink this approach and be kinder in the way we view these issues. We can’t reasonably say the private schools won’t be possible avenue for the spread of the pandemic or that the private schools owners have the capacity to handle all these alone. If we succeed in safeguarding the public schools and students of private schools are exposed to danger, we wouldn’t have made positive impact in solving the challenge. Therefore, we should also provide them assistance in this situation.

Now the world and Nigeria are still at sea over how to conquer this pandemic, if for instance a private university or research body comes up with an answer, Nigeria would take the glory and also the benefits.

A young engineering student of a private university, the Gregory University announced producing power generator that runs without fuel. If that comes into use, the entire country would benefit and in our quest for advancement in all fields of knowledge, the private institutions are not ruled out.

The reason the government even created them is because they are sure they have some value to add. Since they are beneficial to us, we should also ensure they exist to assist provide valuable service to the system.

It is possible the private institutions produce about 10% of the graduates we turn out every year. These products of theirs are not rejected for national service, not rejected in the job market – public and private. We should therefore show better responsibility to ensure that such products are properly nurtured for valuable use to the society. They won’t get that top class quality until the institutions that produce them are encouraged by the government, not only in inspections to ensure standards but further in training their manpower especially the teachers to be of improved quality. We are also aware that one of the disincentives about quality lecturers taking up employment with private universities includes this denial of assistance for research and courses which the government provides the public institutions counterparts through the TETFund.

In this period every aspect of the society would be struggling or are already struggling for breathe of air to remain alive, the federal government should start rethinking its behavior towards these private institutions.